Report: Kawhi Leonard Dealing With Chronic Knee Soreness

According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is dealing with chronic knee soreness.

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, NBA, Team USA
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Leonard will not play for Team USA in the Paris Olympics anymore.

Leonard deals with chronic inflammation from the multiple surgeries he’s had. He played in just two playoff games in 2023 due to a torn right meniscus and missed the entire 2021-22 season after tearing his right ACL during the 2021 playoffs. 

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White is replacing Leonard. 

“I want to thank Kawhi for his commitment to the USA Men’s National Team,” managing director of the U.S. men’s national team Grant Hill said in a statement. “He earned the opportunity to represent the United States, but USA Basketball and Clippers leadership felt it’s important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season.”

One of the top players in NBA history, Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks in 2023-24 for the Clippers in 68 games while shooting 52.5% from the field, 41.7% from 3 and 88.5% from the free-throw line. He made the All-Star team and the All-NBA second team. 

The Clippers won 51 games in the regular season but lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs in six games. Leonard only played in Games 2 and 3. 

LAC lost Paul George to the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason in free agency. George spoke to Leonard after making his decision. 

“I owed Kawhi that conversation,” George said on his podcast. “I called him up and was just like, man, listen, I think I’m going to go elsewhere. Conversations with the Clippers didn’t go how I wanted to. I kind of broke down how I told you guys how it all played out and we had that conversation and I was like, man, I got to do what’s best. He understood like ‘Go get your bag like P, go get your back. I can’t even be mad at you.’ I look at Kawhi as one of my best friends in this league. Somebody that I fuck with. Our families love each other. So it was tough to leave him just with how much I enjoyed being out there with him. That was one of a big decision too that weighed a lot on me was just, damn, I’m leaving my boy. But I had to have that conversation with him. We talked and he gave me his blessings of like, man, just go do what’s best for you.”

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