Remember when Kawhi Leonard was bashed by fans and media for sitting out after being cleared by the Spurs training staff? Yeah, that doesn't seem too crazy anymore after what happened to Kevin Durant.
Leonard trusted his body over the team, and now he's on the verge of a championship. Meanwhile, Durant took the advice of team doctors, and now he's on the verge of missing a year of his prime due to injury.
We may never get his real thoughts, but I’d love to know what Kawhi Leonard thinks of the KD situation.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) June 11, 2019
It was repeatedly reported that Kawhi did not feel like his body was ready despite the medical clearance. He even came back for a few games and then refused to play after that short stint when he realized something wasn't right.
The glory of a championship is tough to pass up, especially when your team is on the ropes and needs your help, but prioritizing health and wellbeing should come first. Remember what happened to Isaiah Thomas? There should be no more glorification of playing through injury because the players are putting too much at risk when they do.
We saw the warning signs with KD. First he was cleared to practice before Game 4 and then he was unable to take the court. Then he left the shootaround before Game 5 early with a trainer. He's been out for over a month with a calf strain -- at this point if it wasn't getting significantly better, then there was something much deeper going on that many were unaware of. KD just needed to trust his body.
Kawhi did and it saved him a very important season in his prime. Unfortunately for KD, the same cannot be said.