WASHINGTON (AP) — Kawhi Leonard sat out the second game of a back-to-back set for the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, giving him some rest early in the season after he missed most of the last one.
Leonard did not travel with the Raptors to the nation’s capital for their game at the Washington Wizards. It was Toronto’s third game in four days.
“We’re just trying to be smart,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Really heavy schedule here to start.”
Nurse said the decision to rest Leonard in the season’s third game came from “medical people; the doctors” and that there is no established plan for exactly which dates the forward will miss.
“I really, really haven’t given it thought that far down the line yet,” Nurse said. “We’re just taking this thing a little bit at a time here at the beginning, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Leonard played in only nine games for the San Antonio Spurs last season, mostly because of a quadriceps injury.
Toronto acquired him in an offseason trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.
Leonard is off to a strong start with his new club.
He had 31 points and 10 rebounds while playing 36 minutes in Toronto’s 113-101 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Friday. In the season opener, he produced 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 116-104 win against Cleveland.
OG Anunoby was put into the starting lineup in Leonard’s place.
“You’re losing a guy that’s taken 22 and 25 shots in the first two games, right? So we’re going to spread the ball around a little bit more, right?” Nurse said. “Somebody else is going to have to step up and play.”
The Wizards also were without their main offseason pickup, center Dwight Howard, who missed his second game in a row with a sore backside.
Howard was sidelined for all of training camp and the entire preseason and only began practicing with Washington on Monday.
“It’s getting close,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He just has to continue to get that last step of the conditioning down, and we’ll go from there.”
Howard will join the Wizards on their upcoming five-game, 10-day road trip, but Brooks said he does not know whether the center will be able to play.
“We’re in no rush,” the coach said. “There’s a long season.”
Brooks said that point guard John Wall was going to play against Toronto, despite missing the morning shootaround because of a migraine.
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