Potential Trouble in Clipper-Land As Kawhi Leonard Exits Game—& Arena

 Playing what has been his healthiest season in five years, suiting up in 58 of the Los Angeles Clippers' previous 63 games this year, Kawhi Leonard seemed to finally be crossing the threshold once again into being counted on as an 'everyday' player. That's what made his exit Tuesday night in the first quarter so troubling.

Kawhi said something to head coach Tyronn Lue on the sideline, then departed the game — and the arena — for the night. 

Fans were holding their breath, as Leonard has missed large swaths of his four previous seasons in LA with injuries, so to see him squat and stretch (and then leave) was a bit unnerving. 

Wednesday afternoon, the Clippers listed Leonard as questionable for Thursday night's game due to "thoracic spasms".  

Apparently, said Lue, back issues have been hampering Kawhi for a few days. 

 The six-time All-Star is averaging 23.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season, while shooting 42.6% from long distance. 

The Clippers will need Leonard if they're to hold on to the 4th seed in the West and homecourt advantage in the first round. They're currently just two games up on the New Orleans Pelicans in 5th spot, and just four games up on the first of the Play-In spots. 

Photo:  Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports