Through seven games, however, Kawhi Leonard looks like he didn't miss nearly a year.
If Toronto Raptors power forward Kawhi Leonard plays Sunday night in Los Angeles against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, don't expect him to play Monday night in Utah. And it's not the one from the land of palm trees.
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.
"They have been playing like they are the best team in the Eastern Conference so far", James said, per ESPN, of Toronto (9-1), who were led by 34 points from Serge Ibaka.
There were two keys to this blowout.
Ibaka, who finished 15-for-17 from the field, made his first 14 shots to start the game - the most by an National Basketball Association player since Shaquille O'Neal did so for the Miami Heat on February 25, 2006, against the Seattle SuperSonics.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and added 15 assists, breaking the franchise record of seven consecutive games of double-digit assists in the process. Lowry is averaging a league-best 11.6 assists per game, which is way up from his previous career high of 7.4.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse and Leonard have both previously said they do not consider the injury serious, according to TSN.
Which brings us to the second part of this blowout: The Lakers' defense is awful. There's games like this in an 82-game season where you just don't have it.
The decision deprived Lakers fans of their only chance this season to see Leonard, who could be an unrestricted free agent coveted by their team next summer.
Much has been made of Magic Johnson's meeting with Walton where he was apparently not pleased with the Lakers' start to the season. This is just filthy, the Greek Freak dunking on countryman Kosta Kufos.
Leonard missed the game with a sore left foot which no doubt had the Lakers breathing a sigh of relief.
Alec Burks led Utah with 22 points and Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"A couple guys would jump over him, and he'd lay it in".
Booker has bounced back this season.
Mitchell missed time earlier with a hamstring pull and then suffered an ankle injury Saturday in Denver.