Kawhi Leonard (knee) sits on Clippers loss to Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kawhi Leonard suffered stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee and missed the LA Clippers’ 108-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

The two teams will meet again Thursday in Oklahoma City, and Leonard will also sit out.

Ahead of Tuesday’s loss, Clippers coach Ty Lue said Leonard hadn’t suffered a setback with his right ACL and the team remained extremely cautious with their franchise star.

Leonard is scheduled to return to Los Angeles on Wednesday for knee treatment. The Clippers will see how Leonard feels before determining his status for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

“After the shooting, [he] felt stiff in his knee,” Lue said before the Clippers played the Thunder. “And so we want to be careful, to make sure that we do the right thing, even if he wanted to play. We just thought it wasn’t smart. He can be mad at us if he wants to, but he’s just not smart right now.”

We missed Leonardo. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points and Tre Mann had 25 as the Thunder earned their first win of the season. The shorthanded Clippers were also without Paul George (non-COVID-19 illness) and Marcus Morris Sr. (personal reasons).

Leonard, who tore his right ACL in Game 4 of the second round against Utah on June 14, 2021, played in two of the Clippers’ first three games on Tuesday, logging 21 minutes in each game. He came off the bench and played in three stints so he could finish every game. When the Clippers played back-to-back last weekend, Leonard missed Game 1 in Sacramento.

The Clippers’ two-time NBA Finals MVP said it will be a process before he gets back into shape and he likely won’t be back in the starting lineup until his minutes reach about 34 to 35 minutes per game.

Still, Leonard had felt fine until he felt stiffness in his knee after Tuesday morning’s shooting. Lue said Leonard was not required to undergo any tests or medical examinations in Los Angeles.

“Sending him back to Los Angeles because he has better resources for his rehab there,” Lue said. “And see what happens after that.

“I mean it’s part of the process when you have ACL surgery. It’s been known to get a little stiff, so we just have to be smart about it.”

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