HONOLULU — Kawhi Leonard went through his first full-contact practice with the LA Clippers on Wednesday.
Head coach Doc Rivers said Leonard did full contact when he was on the floor for “probably half the live stuff.”
“Kawhi practiced today,” Rivers said at the University of Hawaii, where the Clippers are holding their training camp. “He was great.”
Rivers even joked that Leonard looked so good he might start him in the Clippers’ first preseason game Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. However, the team is playing things safe with him. Rivers had said at the start of camp that Leonard would probably be held out of the Clippers’ two preseason games here in Hawaii against Houston and the Shanghai Sharks.
Leonard said earlier this week that his health and playing time will be managed differently this season compared with last season with the Toronto Raptors, who handled Leonard’s load management and played him in 60 regular-season games last season. However, Leonard is keeping the big picture in mind with the Clippers.
“Taking it day by day, and just working things out, really,” Leonard said. “Everything is going great right now. I just don’t want to push it over the top or go on an uphill incline right now with this being my first three days.”
Leonard said on the first day of camp that he feels much better than he did at this time last year entering camp with the Raptors, when he was coming off a quad injury. But the Clippers, who also are taking it slow with Paul George and his surgically repaired shoulders, are in no rush to push their star players.
“We all know what we’re trying to do at the end of the year, what the expectations are for ourselves,” Leonard said. “But right now like I said, just taking the training camp, trying to build for each other, just trying to jell as a team.”