Kawhi Leonard on new rest rules – ‘No league policy helping me play more’

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Playa Vista, California. — Perhaps no NBA player has been more associated with load management and the league’s new player participation policies than the LA Clippers star. Kawhi LeonardBut Leonard pushed back on that policy at the team’s media day Monday — saying that “the no league policy is helping me play more games.”

Leonard was making his first comments since tearing the meniscus in his right knee in the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns in April. The injury marked the second time in three years that Leonard, 32, suffered a right knee injury in the postseason. He tore his right ACL during the second round of the team’s 2021 run to the Western Conference finals.

After that ACL injury, Leonard missed the 2021-22 season. He hasn’t appeared in more than 60 games in a season since 2016-17.

When first asked about the new policy passed last month, which says teams must ensure multiple star players are unavailable for the same game, Leonard asked what the new rules were.

When a reporter answered, Leonard replied that his on-again, off-again eligibility with the Toronto Raptors for the 2018-19 season — when he led the team to a championship — came while he was rehabbing a knee injury.

“I’m not a guy that sits because I’m doing load management — well, when I was with the Raptors, it was different; like, I was coming [off] An injury,” he said. “And you need to get the details from the doctor.

“But if the league sees or tries to make fun of what I did with the Raptors, they should stop because I was injured that whole year. But other than that, if I can play, I’ll play basketball. I’m “working out every day to play in the summer. I do So, the no league policy is helping me play more games.”

Regarding the new policy, Clippers coach Ty Lue said, “If our players are healthy, they’re going to play. I know there’s a big point, like, our boys don’t like to play or whatever, but that’s not true. “Our guys want to play. Unfortunately, they’ve had injuries… So, if our guys are healthy, they’re going to play, and we’re really focused.”

Leonard suffered a meniscus injury in the first game of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Suns in April. He played through it in Game 2 of that series and then sat out the next three games. Leonard underwent a clean meniscus procedure on June 6.

Leonard said he hasn’t done anything particularly new this offseason in terms of getting his body ready for the season. Instead, he focused on the fickle nature of some injuries.

“It’s a matter of if you’re going out with somebody; a lot of my injuries last year, I stepped on somebody’s leg or ran into somebody,” Leonard said. “You have to control what you can control and the treatments you can and listen to your body, keep moving and see what happens.”

Leonard later added, “You’re either going to get hurt or you’re going to be lucky enough to play games throughout the playoffs or the entire regular season… I’m not trying to go to a certain amount of games. I’m trying to play the games I can play. If I get hurt Pie, I can’t play basketball. The last two years, unfortunately, I got hurt, tore my ACL, then, at the end of the year, tore my meniscus it’s basketball.

“I’m a two-way player. I play hard, so injuries are going to come. I’m not out there just hanging around. I play both ends of the floor. I see the best players on both ends every night. “Either I’m guarding the best player or the best player is guarding me. giving If there’s an injury, that’s it.”

Last week, Lawrence Frank, Clippers president of basketball operations, told Leonard and Paul George — who sat out that first-round series against Phoenix with a sprained right knee — enters the team’s training camp in Hawaii “fully healthy.”

For all the praise when Leonard and George joined the Clippers, the two were rarely healthy during their four seasons together. They played just 38 games together last season, and, all told, they only played 142 regular-season and postseason games combined, during which the team posted a 96-46 record.

When asked about the league’s new policy, George said, “If healthy, absolutely, I’m suiting up, and I want to play every night.”



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