Clippers' Kawhi Leonard out vs. Celtics Because of Back Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard (2) plays against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday's game vs. the Boston Celtics with back spasms, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

The 29-year-old remains the centerpiece of the Clippers, averaging 26.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists this season. He's paired with Paul George and a talented supporting cast to give L.A. one of the better rosters in basketball and legitimate title hopes. 

The Clippers sit at 24-12 on the season, third in the Western Conference.

Load management has been a part of the San Diego State product's life the past several seasons, as he attempts to stay healthy for deep playoff pushes. That worked out nicely during the 2018-19 season, when a fresh Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to the first title in organization history. 

It didn't play as well during his first season with the Clippers, though, when teammates reportedly felt he received preferential treatment. 

But the Clippers have made some serious personnel and coaching changes, seeing players like Montrezl Harrell and Landry Shamet depart and former head coach Doc Rivers leave as well. In came Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum and Luke Kennard, while Tyronn Lue took over as head coach. 

It's title or bust for the Clippers in the Leonard-George era. There's no real replacing Leonard while he's out, though players such as Batum, Kennard and Marcus Morris Sr. should play a bigger role until he returns.