NBA

Kawhi Leonard accepts that injuries are a part of ‘his journey’ in NBA career

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Kawhi Leonard knows very well he’s been chased by the injury ghosts throughout most of his career, and fans have sure given him hell for it. Now that he’s recovered from his latest health issue and concentrated in Team USA’s camp ahead of the Paris Olympics this month, he’s talked about his medical past and addressed how he perceives his own career. 

The Clippers star started out by admitting that he was concerned about missing out on being a part of the United States squad after suffering a knee injury that forced him to miss the end of his club’s first-round playoff defeat to the Dallas Mavericks. Nevertheless, he said his knee improved a lot in the past weeks and he was determined to remain committed.

“Yeah. But I took the time, and I was able to turn around over the last two weeks,” the veteran told the press on Sunday afternoon’s practice. “So, I’m out here now and, yeah, I’m having a good time.”

Truth is, the player wasn’t even playing at his best before he fell to injury in April, as the L.A. team lost Games 2 and 3 before his knee inflammation. This marked the third-consecutive time that Kawhi ended his postseason prematurely because of health issues, without including him missing out on the entire 2021-22 campaign after tearing his ACL.

Today, Leonard can’t help but recognize that a run of bad luck has played a significant part in his career, and the fact that the Clippers haven’t been able to live up to their own expectations. However, he also understands he can’t control his injuries and can only keep working harder.

The forward has comes to terms with this reality. “Yeah, but this is just my journey, so whatever … I can’t lay out the perfect script for me,” he expressed yesterday. “Last year, I tried to play as much as possible, felt great. And at a certain period of time I couldn’t go.

“I tried the best that I could, but it’s just my journey. I don’t want to be in a situation that I do be in, but I got to take it for what it is. And a lot of people are watching, supporters or doubters, but I motivate a lot of people.”

Leonard was asked about what he feels about Paul George leaving for Philadelphia, but declined to answer the question to avoid controversy

Five years ago, the Los Angeles franchise invested in bringing in Paul George and Kawhi, but this summer his former teammates has decided to continue his basketball career in Philly. During Team USA’s training camp, the veteran was asked about what he felt about this, but he declined to answer.

Leonard later clarified that he doesn’t have a problem with his co-star leaving to play with the 76ers, but simply wants questions to be about the 2024 Olympic Games. As for his knee, he did say that “everything’s been going good” during his first two days of practice.

According to the 33-year-old, the Clippers organization haven’t shown any concern with the fact that he’s taken a part of this Team USA delegation after missing the end of last season. “Not really,” he said. “They were positive about the situation. So, yeah, they wasn’t too worried about it.”

Now, he’s determined to keep working hard and avoid future injuries. “So, I got to keep doing what I’m doing and I might be the most known at the time right now, like injury or whatever, but people have, players have worse luck than I have. So just to being able to keep going and keep going is going to motivate the next guy that’s watching me. So I’m going to keep going until I can’t,” the All-Star shared.