493 days!The Clippers finally waited until Kawhi Leonard returned to the team, and they were still in the warm-up match“Five Forwards”Seeing that they could finally win the championship again, they only experienced two dreams. Leonard was injured again, and then he came back on November 17 and only played three games and was injured again. Is the speedboat too protective, or Leonard’s rest controversy?
Why did Kawhi Leonard rest this time?
In fact, the situation was not as dramatic as it was in the Spurs back then, it was just a simple injury.First, after the Suns on October 23, the Clippers immediately announced that Leonard would rest again. The initial official reason was that“Right Knee Injury Control”(Right knee injury management), but according to The Athletic reporter Law Murray It was further reported that Leonard felt his knee was stiff after the game. Although he hoped to play, he was still protected by the cautious Clippers team. He took 12 games in one breath until he returned to the court against the Pistons on November 17.
Leonard only played 3 games this time, because of thelast minute game, accidentally stepped on teammate Amir Coffey after taking off and landing and turned his foot.Although the interview after the game emphasized that it was fine, but according to the head coach Ty Lue postmortemLeonard felt a little sore the next day, and the Clippers once again put him on the Day To Day disabled list out of caution, and he has not returned to the team until today against the Kings.
(12/3 news: Kawhi Leonard has participated in the team’s practice, and his status has been changed to Questionable. Ty Lue confirmed that he will participate in the next road trip with the team, and he is the last mile before returning to the team)
In fact, since the surgery was completed in the summer of 2021, the Clippers have not dared to be careless with Leonard. Even though there have been many rumors claiming that the recovery progress is ahead of schedule, and it is expected to return to the team early in the 2021-22 season, Leonard even joked before the season that if he really entered the championship game last season, maybe he would play, but the Clippers are always concerned about the “return time”. “He remained silent, and continued the previous “load management” strategy, paying attention to any minor problems of Leonard, unwilling to take any risks.
The injury Leonard suffered was an ACL (partially torn cruciate ligament of the knee), not a minor operation. When he returned to the team for the second time on November 17, although he did not explain the reason for missing 12 games, he also pointed out that the rest was due to the ball. decision made by the group,and explain“This season has been a long journey. Many people think ACL recovery is one year, but it’s two years. I understand this, so I will continue to move forward and complete this process. Continue to rehabilitate and prepare. “
The speedboat is really scary
Suppose you go back to the summer of 2019, and you are the head of the Clippers team. You have the power to decide whether to sign Leonard and implement the Paul George deal. Looking at the rich injury history of the two, will you retreat because of this?
How heartbreaking is it for a key player to get injured in the playoffs? Clippers owner Steve Ballmer must have sympathy. First, in the 2014-15 season, Chris Paul missed two games due to a thigh strain. The following year, he was injured together with Blake Griffin. In the 2016-17 playoffs, Griffin was replaced by Griffin. He only played three games and was reimbursed for the season. It seems to be an inevitable curse in the history of the Clippers, and it will continue until the 2021 season.
Leonard has never been a healthy ironman player. After the injury in 2017-18, the maximum number of appearances in a single season is only 60 games. Even George is not a strong player. He also suffered major injuries and The average number of games played in the three seasons between 2019-2022 is only 44.3 games, and the number of games played in the first two years of joining the Clippers is even lower than Leonard.
However, it is undeniable that the playoffs are undoubtedly a battlefield for star competition. As long as the two can play healthy, it will be full of reverie. Leonard holds two FMVPs, and led the Toronto Raptors to win the first championship in team history in one year. For three consecutive seasons from 2018 to 2021, the average playing time in the playoffs exceeded 39 minutes, and the average scoring in two seasons exceeded the 30 mark. It is rare in the league to have a star who can have a huge influence on both ends of the offense and defense. And even though George was ridiculed for calling himself “Playoffs P” for his paint-off performance, he will prove himself again in the 2021 playoffs with an average of 40 minutes per game, with 26.9 points, 5.4 assists and 9.6 rebounds. The Clippers lead into the Western Conference championship game.
At least at this point in time, the Clippers still believe that Leonard and George are enough to bring back the championship Gold Cup combination, but how to ensure health after major injuries and play 100% in the playoffs? “Load management” (rotation) is undoubtedly the only way. Even between winning the championship with the Tyrannosaurus in 2019 and being injured in the 2021 playoffs, Leonard did not suffer from major injuries. The Tyrannosaurus and the Clippers both chose to resort to “load management”. The strategy worked, too, except for Leonard’s unfortunate re-injury.