NBA regular season

Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard leaves game with back spasms


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Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard leaves game with back spasms

CHALLENGE. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard loses the ball against Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS

Kawhi Leonard leaves the game after one quarter, prompting a quick response from Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves, who climb out of a 22-point hole to stun the Clippers

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard left Los Angeles’ home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after one quarter due to back spasms, and it’s possible he could miss additional action.

Leonard, 32, played all 12 minutes of the first quarter, scoring 6 points on 2-of-4 shooting to go along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists before Minnesota went on to win, 118-100 on Tuesday, March 12 (Wednesday, March 13, Manila time). 

He missed the Clippers’ 124-117 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, March 10, because of left groin soreness.

On the TNT broadcast, Leonard could be seen walking back to the Clippers’ locker room in the second quarter, and then leaving the locker room in street clothes.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said postgame, “He’s been dealing with [back spasms] for a couple days … Wasn’t sure if he was going to go this morning, but he came to shootaround, got some treatment, did what he had to do and tried to get on the court and play today. And it just didn’t loosen up for him.”

Asked if Leonard would travel with the team for games at Chicago on Thursday and New Orleans on Friday, Lue said, “Not sure. I hope so.”

Leonard had been listed on the injury report before the Tuesday game due to groin soreness and was questionable, but he was in the starting lineup.

The Clippers led 34-21 after one quarter and had a 22-point lead nearly seven minutes through the second quarter before the Timberwolves pulled off a 20-2 run after Leonard departed. 

Leonard is averaging 23.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists through 58 games (all starts) this season. In 12 NBA seasons, he has averaged 20.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 686 games (657 starts). 

Anthony Edwards scored 37 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 28 to lead the visiting Timberwolves, who ended a two-game skid.

Mike Conley scored 23 points, Rudy Gobert added 11 rebounds and Kyle Anderson had 10 points as the Timberwolves improved to 2-2 since Karl-Anthony Towns went down with a knee injury. 

Towns underwent surgery earlier Tuesday and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. –

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