| December 31, 2020, 10:20 AM
December 31, 2020, 10:20 AM
Following the Los Angeles Clippers’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday that saw a masked Kawhi Leonard return after two games off due to an incidental blow to the face from teammate Serge Ibaka, the two-time Finals MVP didn’t hesitate to make a joke at the latter’s expense.
“You know, they’ve started calling me Leatherface and stuff,” Leonard said post-game after scoring a game-high 28 points, “but Serge (Ibaka) can’t talk too much. We’ve got him on the trading block already. So whoever wants him, let us know. We’re trying to trade Serge.”
Kawhi said his Clippers teammates called him Leatherface with his mask
He also joked that Serge is on the trading block after elbowing him in the face pic.twitter.com/uJauwtDNb6
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 31, 2020
The inadvertent elbow took place in the Clippers’ matchup against the Denver Nuggets last Friday, when Ibaka went up for a rebound and caught the side of his teammate’s face with just 6:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Leonard ultimately required eight stitches to treat the laceration in his mouth.
In order to be able to return to play Wednesday, Leonard noted that the key was being able to open his mouth and being able to speak.
“It’s hard to breathe in that mask,” he added.
Ibaka signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Clippers back on Nov. 21 after having spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Toronto Raptors. A major factor in that decision was the chance to reunite with Leonard, whom he won a title with in 2019 and in effect built a strong connection with.
Masked Leonard, the appearance of whom saw the internet rise to meet with various memes and jokes, will continue on for at least the short-term, as he’ll be required to wear the face protection until the stitches in his jaw and lip fully heal.