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Kawhi Leonard Returned to Los Angeles for Treatment on Knee



Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was absent for Tuesday night’s 109-95 loss to the Sacramento Kings because of right knee soreness, making it just his seventh game missed this season.

Leonard, 32, returned home to Los Angeles on Monday to receive additional treatment. Clippers coach Ty Lue said the team first learned of Leonard’s knee injury following Sunday’s 130-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

According to a couple of NBA betting sites, the Clippers hold third-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets.

The six-time All-Star played 37 minutes and scored 23 points in the victory at Charlotte. His status for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets, which is the start of a home back-to-back for the Clippers, is uncertain.

“We hope so,” Lue said when asked whether Leonard will be back in time to face Denver. “We’re not sure right now, but that is what we are leaning towards.”

Leonard has appeared in 68 games this season — his most since 2016-17 when he played 74 games for the San Antonio Spurs. He’s averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 34.3 minutes per game.

Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard has played in 68 games, is shooting a career-best 52.5% from the field

The 12-year veteran is also shooting a career-best 52.5% from the field, 41.7% from 3-point range, and 88.5% at the foul line. His true shooting percentage (62.6%) is a career high as well.

In Los Angeles’ 117-103 victory over the Utah Jazz on Dec. 8, the San Diego State product recorded a season-high 41 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a block in 38 minutes of action.

In January, Leonard and the Clippers agreed to a three-year, $153 million contract extension. His new deal does not carry a player option, but it includes $52 million in the first year and about $50 million per season over the next two years.

Leonard had until June 30 to sign an extension with a $48.7 million player option for next season. He’s currently earning $45.64 million this season. This is part of the four-year, $176.24 million deal he signed with the team in August 2021.

The fourth-seeded Clippers (47-28) have six games remaining on their schedule. The No. 5 Dallas Mavericks (45-30) and No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans (45-30) trail Los Angeles by two games.


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