Kawhi Leonard just can't catch a break. After missing all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL, he was only able to stay on the court for two games before suffering yet another injury. An issue with his knee kept him sidelined for 12 games before he finally returned in a recent game against the Detroit Pistons. Three games later and he's out once again. According to the team's injury report, he will miss Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors with a sprained right ankle.
Given Leonard's cautious approach to injury management, there is no telling how long this ankle sprain will sideline him. Even though he returned from his knee injury on Nov. 17, he hasn't truly played his typical workload once this season. In five appearances, he has not once played 25 minutes. He came off of the bench in his first two games this season, and he has never taken more than 12 shots in a game this year. Leonard is cautious when he plays, but the Clippers are also cautious in how much they play him.
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The Clippers have largely held their own without Leonard. They are 11-7 through 18 games this season, and given the congestion in the Western Conference, sit just half a game behind the No. 1 seeded Utah Jazz as of this writing. Their offense has been among the league's worst this season, but their defense has held the team together.
Leonard should help on both fronts when he comes back at full strength, but given how this season is gone, there's just no telling when that will be. We're nearly a quarter into the season and have only seen brief glimpses of Leonard, never at the level he's reached in the past. The Clippers will take their time to try to get him there, but the more games he misses, the harder that's going to be.