The injury woes for Kawhi Leonard continue, as the Los Angeles Clippers star is dealing with a knee setback.
Head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters the star player will not join the team for the upcoming two-game road trip against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. The coach added that Leonard is frustrated but "getting better, and that's the most important thing."
The San Diego State product has appeared in just two games this season and missed the last three. Lue said the absence will stretch to at least six games in total.
The Clippers have carefully monitored Leonard already this season. The two-time NBA Finals MVP came off the bench in those first two games he played.
Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season while recovering from a partially torn ACL in his right knee he suffered in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz in June 2021.
Few players in the NBA have been more carefully managed in recent seasons than Leonard. He missed at least 15 games in each of the previous three seasons that he played from 2018-21.
When Leonard has been on the court, he's been one of the league's best players. The five-time All-NBA forward has averaged 26.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 109 games with the Clippers.
The Clippers were often scrambling to keep players healthy last season. Paul George missed 51 games because of injuries. Marcus Morris Sr. and Eric Bledsoe each only played in 54 games.
Despite those injury woes, Lue still led Los Angeles to a 42-40 record and a spot in the play-in tournament.
A healthy Leonard significantly raises the ceiling for the Clippers. Their championship aspirations for the 2022-23 season depend on the 31-year-old being available.
Morris will likely see more playing time until Leonard is available to return.