There is currently a lot of confusion surrounding the Kawhi Leonard situation. After being expected to enter the new season fully healthy, Leonard has already suffered a setback that has forced him to miss five of the Clippers’ first seven games. Every report this past summer indicated that Leonard not only felt great, but looked great. Now dealing with knee tightness after just two games, there are some major question marks right now.
Unsurprisingly, this story has been picked up by major news outlets, but not in its entirety. Outlets like Bleacher Report, who do not have an in-market correspondent at Clippers games, are tweeting vague updates from what they steal from local reporters. While the unethical nature of that style of media is a conversation for another time, the inaccuracy is what has really begun driving a false perception of Leonard’s situation.
In a since deleted and corrected Tweet, Bleacher Report announced that Kawhi Leonard would miss the Clippers’ next six games. No such report came from the team, as Ty Lue told reporters on Monday that Leonard would not be traveling on the team’s upcoming two-game road trip. The Tweet has since been fixed, but it was up for a while.
At the same time Bleacher Report was reporting misinformation, other outlets were sharing vague portions of Ty Lue’s full comments, that made it seems as if friction between Leonard and the organization may be brewing. More than anything, this is what has caused the most confusion.
Ty Lue’s actual update
When Ty Lue revealed that Kawhi Leonard would not be making the upcoming road trip, he added that Leonard was frustrated with his current physical state not being where he hoped it would be. That word “frustrated” was ran with by several outlets in out of context Tweets that insinuated Leonard was frustrated with the organization’s handling of this situation. After watching Lue’s comments, that is clearly not the case.
It’s completely understandable that Leonard would be frustrated with his current physical state, having put in so much work to rehab his injury. As for the extent of his current knee tightness, that is unclear. There is a reasonable level if concern, especially since Leonard had previously experienced no setbacks in camp or pre-season, but any concrete updates are not available.
It does not seem entirely unrealistic for a player to experience some knee tightness in their first week back from ACL surgery, but regardless of the commonality, this is something the Clippers are rightfully being careful with. Leonard’s health later in the season cannot be compromised by overworking him in October and November. He knows this, the Clippers know this, and they are making decisions together with that in mind.
Any reported frustration form Leonard is strictly about his physical inability to play.