LOS ANGELES – As Kauhi Leonard returns from a leg injury and climbs for the off-season, the LA Clippers are cautious and maintain a minute limit on their All-Star.
Clippers coach Ty Lue said he had to adjust his rotations with Leonard, who has not yet been cleared to play a full quarter. Leonard had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes during the 118-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.
“Right now, Kauhi just can’t play a full quarter, so he can’t play the whole 12-minute stay,” Loue said when asked about his rotation, with Leonard and George resting on the bench at the same time. “Without it, it confuses our rotations a bit.
“So here we put Terrance Mann or Luke Kennard in that position and we just go from there. But once [Leonard] is cleared so he can play the whole quarter, we’ll go back to him, finishing the first and third and letting PG play the second unit to start the quarter. “
Leonard played 30 minutes or more in his third straight game after missing nine of 10 games with sore right leg. Leonard has averaged 14.6 points in his last three games, well below the average of 25.3 points for the season. Leonard has made a total of 15 shots in his last two games, but has seen double teams in a win over Toronto and has not had to make very heavy lifts in the Battle of the Lakers.
Lennard said recently that he has been playing with a leg injury for some time, but he is and will be fine. The Clippers (45-22) have five games left, including just one back-set in the regular season.
“I feel good,” Leonard said after defeating the Lakers. “I’m ready to go. You know I’m just glad I’m on the floor and not sitting on the sidelines, I can play the game I love.”