Los Angeles' decision to sit Leonard for Wednesday's nationally televised game against the Milwaukee Bucks drew criticism on social media, but the league released a statement in defense of the Clippers' load management.
"Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers' injury report," league spokesperson Mike Bass said, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine, is comfortable with the team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time."
The Clippers have exercised caution with Leonard after signing him to a three-year, $103-million contract over the summer. He was also kept out of the team's loss to the Utah Jazz on Oct. 30 in order to play the second part of that back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs. Los Angeles has been working closely with the NBA regarding Leonard's knee in order to abide by the league's injury regulations, Wojnarowski adds.
That matchup with the Jazz is the one game Leonard has sat out for load management so far this season. The reigning NBA Finals MVP missed 22 games with the Toronto Raptors last season in the wake of a quad injury that limited him to nine contests in 2017-18 and precipitated his trade demand from the Spurs.