Kawhi Leonard is still out of commission.
The Los Angeles Clippers star will not be with the team when they travel to Houston and San Antonio this week for a two-game road trip, coach Ty Lue confirmed on Monday.
Leonard, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, missed the Clippers’ last four games due to “injury management” after he reported stiffness in his knee last week.
This latest setback will bring his absence to at least six games, meaning he won't return before Sunday's game against the Utah Jazz at Crypto.com Arena.
Thankfully, Lue said ahead of their game with the Rockets on Monday night in Los Angeles, Leonard’s knee is improving.
"He's frustrated," Lue said, via the NBA's Mark Medina. "He wants to be out on the floor. He wants to travel. But that's obviously not the right thing to do right now."
The news isn’t great for the Clippers, especially since they’ve struggled without Leonard already this season.
Leonard has played in just two games this season, and has averaged 21 minutes off the bench. He had 11 points and six rebounds in their loss to the Phoenix Suns earlier this month, his last game out, but he shot just 2-of-6 from the field and scored most of his points from the free throw line.
That game started a four-game losing skid headed into Monday night’s contest with the Rockets — including a pair of losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Despite those issues, there’s still no need to rush Leonard back. The Clippers will be just nine games into their season when they return from the short road trip, and Leonard is coming off of a major injury. Risking his health, especially at this point, isn’t worth it in the long run.
But if the Clippers can’t find a way to win without Leonard, things could get rough fast.