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Kawhi Leonard, renowned for his meticulous approach to load management, has offered a robust defense of his strategy, highlighting the critical role of physical well-being in his ability to compete on the basketball court.

While his selective game appearances have raised questions in recent years, Leonard’s candid comments underscore the significant impact injuries have had on his career.

The two-time NBA champion has grappled with severe injuries, including an ACL tear and a torn meniscus, which not only restricted his participation in full regular seasons but also led to his absence throughout the entire 2021-22 season.

As the NBA introduces stricter rules to deter teams from resting players without valid health reasons, Leonard’s perspective sheds light on the delicate balance players must strike when prioritizing their physical readiness over regular-season games.

“If I’m hurt, I can’t play basketball. These last two years, I tore my ACL, I tore my meniscus… I either guard the best player, or the best player is guarding me,” Leonard said during a press conference, per Farbod Esnaashari.

Leonard denied sitting out due to load management, saying, “I’m not a guy that’s sitting down for load management… I workout everyday in the summertime to play the game, not to sit out and watch others play.”