Clippers' Kawhi Leonard Needed 8 Stitches After Suffering Bloody Mouth Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard (2) makes his way down the court during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard needed eight stitches after suffering a cut in his mouth late in Friday's 121-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Head coach Ty Lue said after the game that Leonard is still being evaluated but he expects the four-time All-Star to be "fine."

"I didn't even see it," Lue told reporters. "... He's going to be fine. He got up and walked off the floor so he's good."

Leonard was bloodied after colliding with teammate Serge Ibaka with around six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He remained on the court for a few moments before being taken to the locker room.

FOX Sports West @FoxSportsWest

Kawhi heads back to the locker room after taking an elbow from teammate Serge Ibaka. Updates will come as they are made available. https://t.co/BzrBTVyv39

He was ruled out for the remainder of the game shortly after. 

Leonard had 21 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals in 30 minutes prior to exiting.

Leonard missing time as he manages his workload has become the norm throughout much of his career, and he has never appeared in more than 74 games in a single season.

He played 60 games in 2018-19 with the Toronto Raptors, though that load management didn't stop him from leading the Raptors to a championship as arguably the best two-way player in the league who can take over a game at a moment's notice on either end of the floor.

In his first season in L.A., which was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Leonard played in 57 of the team's 72 regular-season games. However, the Clippers disappointed in the end, losing in the second round of the playoffs.

His presence is a primary reason L.A. is on the realistic shortlist of championship contenders again, and it is difficult to envision it winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy if he is not on the floor.

Look for Paul George to anchor the offense from the wing should Leonard miss time. The combination of Lou Williams, Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris Sr., Patrick Patterson and Nicolas Batum will likely play more minutes as well.

Next up, Los Angeles hosts the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.