2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is set to miss his first regular-season game as a member of the LA Clippers.
According to a report from Andrew Greif of the LA Times, Leonard will not play Thursday vs. the Utah Jazz.
Kawhi Leonard will not play vs. Utah. Resting on the first half of the back to back.- Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) October 30, 2019
As indicated in the above report, the game - LA's fifth of the season - is the front end of a back-to-back. The Clippers will return home to take on Leonard's former team in the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
Greif added that per the team, the official ruling for Leonard Thursday is "out, load management, knee."
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that this would not necessarily become a precedent, telling reporters that resting Kawhi during back-to-backs will be a case-by-case decision this season (per Andrew Greif).
Load management is nothing new to Leonard - in his lone season as a member of the Toronto Raptors, over half of the 22 regular-season games that the three-time All-Star missed were due to that buzzworthy phrase.
The 28-year-old, who appeared in all 24 of Toronto's postseason games en route to the franchise's first NBA title last year, credited the management of his body to how well he was able to perform in the 2019 postseason.
"If we didn't do that, I wouldn't be here right now for sure."- ESPN (@espn) June 7, 2019
Kawhi Leonard tells @Rachel__Nichols that the Raptors' load management plan for him helped in the long run. pic.twitter.com/KtyxtjBJi7
Through his first four games as a Clipper, Leonard has picked up right where he left off in the postseason posting averages 27.0 points, 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds on .519/.368/.840 shooting splits to lead LA to a 3-1 record.
Should he be available, the Clippers will lean on their superstar against the Spurs, who will be one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the league when they visit the Staples Center Friday.