Leonard jammed his left foot late in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s win over the Phoenix Suns Friday night, sitting out the game’s final 2:42 as a precaution. He then participated in portions of Saturday’s practice at UCLA, and said then there was no determination made about his status for Sunday’s game.
But Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before the game that Leonard would sit and that second-year forward OG Anunoby would start in his place.
“It shifts us around a little bit,” Nurse said.
This was set to be Leonard’s only visit to Staples Center to play the Lakers this season — the lone time the fans here would’ve had a chance to serenade the league’s best two-way wing player with cheers ahead of him being an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Raptors have been very cautious with Leonard in the early going, and Nurse already had told ESPN after Friday’s game in Phoenix that Leonard would be sitting out one half of the team’s back-to-backs indefinitely, having already sat out one half in each of Toronto’s first two this season.
There was no word on whether Leonard would potentially be available for Monday night’s game in Utah against the Jazz.
Toronto’s caution is understandable, given Leonard missed all but nine games with the San Antonio Spurs last season due to tendinopathy in his right quad. So far this season, he’s looked every bit the player he was previously, averaging 26.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals in seven games for the Raptors while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from 3-point range.
“I just wanted to get healthy,” Leonard said after Friday’s win. “I feel healthy now, and they just don’t want to rush into things. I don’t either.
“It’s a long season, so we’re thinking about the long road.”