Less than 24 hours after Kawhi Leonard was absent from the Los Angeles Clippers loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to 'load management', the league has handed down a $50,000 fine to the franchise.
In a statement released this morning, the league gave the following explanation for the fine:
"Following additional review of the LA Clippers not playing Kawhi Leonard in last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA has confirmed that the team's decision to sit Leonard for management of an injury was consistent with league rules. The team has reasonably determined that Leonard is suffering from an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee and has been placed by the team on an injury protocol for back-to-back game.
"The NBA has fined the Clippers $50,000 for statements, including by head coach Doc Rivers, that were inconsistent with Leonard's helath status."
The NBA fines the Clippers $50,000 after Doc Rivers says Kawhi was "healthy" last night. (Translation: the league stuck its neck out with a fanbase frustrated with 'load management' because officials believed Kawhi has a legit health issue...then watched Doc say Kawhi is fine.) pic.twitter.com/42jQfceBjv- Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 7, 2019
As reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Rivers said pregame that Leonard "feels great" and it was the Clippers job "to make sure he stays that way."
Rivers said: "He feels great. But he feels great because of what we've been doing. We're just going to continue to do it. There's no concern here. But we want to make sure. I think Kawhi made a statement that he's never felt better. It's our job to make sure he stays that way..."- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 7, 2019
Leonard has not played in both games of a back-to-back since the 2016-17 season. He is expected to play tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers.