A bloodied Kawhi Leonard was constrained from the LA Clippers’ game at the Denver Nuggets in the final quarter Friday night after an impact with a colleague left him requiring eight stitches to treat a mouth laceration.
Serge Ibaka was going up for a defensive rebound when his elbow slammed into Leonard’s face, promptly sending the All-Star forward to the floor. Leonard drained plentifully from his mouth as he was treated on the court, prior to being supported to the locker room with 6:07 left in the game.
At the point when Paul George saw a bloodied Leonard on the floor, he was exceptionally concerned.
“Really worried,” George said. “I was thinking of the worst. I didn’t know if he was concussed or how hard of a hit [it was] or what actually happened, because I didn’t see it. I just saw him laying on the ground. That was first and foremost, just making sure he was OK.”
Without Leonard, the Clippers got a little retribution by holding on to a big lead in the second half and beating the Nuggets 121-108. Denver had previously defeated the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs last season, after Los Angeles blew a 3-1 arrangement lead.
“Nothing was said,” coach Tyronn Lue replied when asked what the Clippers said to keep their composure down the stretch without Leonard. “You know, just next man up. We know Kawhi is a great player. We got to have the mindset that if he goes down, everybody has to be able to step up.”
Leonard left with the Clippers up 108-97. He had 21 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals in 30 minutes.
“I didn’t even see it,” Lue said after the game, while Leonard was being evaluated. “… He’s going to be fine. He got up and walked off the floor, so he’s good.”
Clippers forward Nicolas Batum said he addressed Leonard following the challenge and that his colleague had all the earmarks of being fine.
“You don’t want a player, any player, [to] go down like that with blood all over him and everywhere on the floor,” Batum said. “I think he’s good. I just saw him in the locker room; he was OK, and that was kind of scary in the moment.”