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Kawhi Leonard to continue avoiding back-to-backs, cites ‘injury prevention’

Kawhi Leonard revealed on Thursday that he will continue to not play in back-to-back games at this point, despite evidently feeling healthy enough to do so. The Toronto Raptors superstar claims it’s more a matter of “injury prevention” than anything else.

“You want to play, but I’ve been through the league long enough to know where the important games are, and that’s in April, May and June,” Leonard said, per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.

Leonard of course missed a majority of last season with the San Antonio Spurs, playing in only nine games while dealing with a nagging quadriceps tendinopathy condition, something that fractured the locker room and ultimately landed the superstar in Toronto. A cautious approach to overdoing it in light of his lost season appears to be Leonard’s motivation for avoiding back-to-backs.

The Raptors’ next back-to-back on the schedule comes this coming Sunday and Monday when the Raptors face the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz on the road.

Leonard, a Los Angeles native, admitted that odds are he’ll play against the Lakers and skip the Jazz game, saying, “Yeah, for sure. We’ll see what happens and what they have on the menu, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing (in LA).”

Leonard has been better than advertised in his first few games with the 7-1 Raptors, averaging 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 50.4 percent from the field in 34.7 minutes in six games.

Despite the suspicion Leonard would be unhappy in Toronto, he has by all appearances been in a good frame of mind — not to mention in good humor — while acclimating to his new team. Now he just needs to get himself healthy enough to play in every game, back-to-back or otherwise.