Anybody with two eyes and a working knowledge of pain who’s watched the last two games of the Eastern Conference finals can tell that something is wrong with Kawhi Leonard.
The Toronto Raptors superstar tweaked his left leg on a fast break in Game 3 on Sunday and was in apparent pain while leading his team to a double-overtime victory.
He looked worse for wear in a Game 4 that he limped and grimaced through Tuesday as his teammates stepped up to carry the Raptors to a blowout Game 4 win.
All the while, the Raptors have not acknowledged that he’s injured, and head coach Nick Nurse has insisted that Leonard is just fine.
Nick Nurse: Kawhi is ‘feeling good’
He did so Tuesday night and kept up the refrain on a Wednesday conference call with reporters.
"He's feeling good," Nurse told reporters. "No concerns at this point. He's good."
OK. We’ll see Thursday night in Milwaukee.
Lowry playing through pain
Kyle Lowry is a different story.
A left thumb injury that’s been bothering him since Toronto’s second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers is still nagging him and causing pain, according to Nurse.
"Kyle's hand is not great," Nurse said. "You know, he's — it's hurt, and it's sore, and it causes him a lot of pain. But he seems to be able to manage it through the game and do what he can do”
He didn’t appear hindered on Tuesday in a 25-point, six-assist, five-rebound effort that played a big role in Toronto’s win. Nurse acknowledged as much.
"He's obviously scoring and playing great on top of the other things he always does, and we're really [seeing] a heck of a lot of toughness and again, the spirit that he just wants to be out there and help his team any way he can," Nurse said.
Leonard has thrived despite ailing leg
Leonard, on the other hand, was clearly hindered. But the Raptors are intent on playing coy on his ailment, as is their prerogative as they look for every edge they can find in a high-stakes series.
He’s shown a remarkable ability to play through the pain, and play well. Unless things get worse, anything less than a big performance from Leonard in Game 5 will be a surprise.
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