Kawhi Leonard injury: Clippers All-Star gets eight stitches to treat laceration in mouth after elbow to face

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Kawhi Leonard helped recruit his former Toronto Raptors teammate, Serge Ibaka, to the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason to shore up a front-court that sorely needed defensive help inside. Instead, it was Leonard who took the brunt of Ibaka’s strength inside on Christmas, when a bit of friendly fire left Leonard bleeding on the floor. 

The play came at around the 6:10 mark of the fourth quarter. Patrick Beverley missed a shot, and Ibaka went up to try to grab the rebound. He didn’t get it, but he did accidentally elbow Leonard in the jaw, sending him down to floor immediately and leading to quite a bit of blood by NBA standards. Leonard wound up leaving the game without returning and was forced to receive eight stitches to treat a laceration in his mouth, and the Clippers ultimately won, 121-108. 

The Clippers are notoriously cautious when it comes to injuries, and routinely sat Leonard out of regular-season games last season in the name of preserving his body. A possible jaw injury is a different beast, though, because there isn’t exactly a chance of recurrence. If there is no serious damage aside from pain, Leonard probably won’t need to miss time. Clippers coach Ty Lue told reporters after the game that “he’s going to be fine,” so this is the likeliest scenario, meaning the Clippers were lucky to escape Denver with both a victory and a healthy superstar. 

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