After dealing with a sore right foot in April, Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard is now fighting through a left hand issue.
Leonard seemingly injured his hand in the Clippers’ May 6 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, taking a tumble under the basket and landing on it. He favored it a bit throughout the game after that before getting three days rest, with the Clips not playing again until May 9, when they lost to the New York Knicks at home, 106-100.
Leonard led the Clips in scoring with 29 points in the loss, but he shot just 9 for 26 from the floor in 36 minutes of action. He went 4-9 from downtown, which was encouraging, but when he was asked about his left hand after the game, his response was both good and bad.
Leonard Vows to ‘Keep Fighting Through’ New Hand Issue
The Clippers have seen their fair share of injuries this season, particularly over the last several months. Patrick Beverley fractured a bone in his left hand, while Paul George has been dealing with foot soreness due to a bone edema in his right foot for much of the spring. Veteran Serge Ibaka has been out since mid-March with a back injury with his return is still unknown, and now, Leonard has a second injury to monitor.
“Being 70-whatever games we’re in right now, you’re gonna have nicks and bruises,” Leonard said, per ESPN. “Just gotta keep fighting through it. You know, put up shots, gotta get used to it and I’m not gonna be worried about it. Just gotta keep going, pretty much.”
Time will tell how much his left hand will affect his shooting, as he looked shaky against the Knicks. When asked about his ankle, Leonard’s mentioned then hand again. “No, ankle’s good, it’s just more of me falling on my hand at that point,” Leonard said. “[Happened] second, third play of the game, it’s frustrating. But other than that, I’m good, I’m good. I’ve been through worse situations.”
Will Clips Rest Kawhi Over Last Few Games?
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue reminded everyone how key Kawhi is for the Clips when asked about Leonard’s foot issue a few weeks ago. “Without having him, it kind of messes up our rotations a little bit. So that is where we insert Terance Mann or Luke Kennard in that position and just kind of go from there. But once [Leonard] is cleared to be able to play the whole quarter, we will go back to him finishing the first and third and letting PG (Paul George) play with the second unit to start the quarter,” Lue told ABC 7.
That has since happened, but with the playoffs coming up in less than two weeks, it will be interesting to see how much Lue rests the players who have been battling through various ailments, Leonard chief among them.
“We’re going to be OK,” Clippers forward Nic Batum added, per the L.A. Times. “We don’t have to worry about it. The coaching staff tries to reset the rotations to get ready for the playoffs. So we just gotta get going, get it together, and we’ll be all right.”