Basketball star Kawhi Leonard had a Christmas Day to forget after suffering a horrific injury in his team’s win over Denver Nuggets, lying motionless on the floor for several minutes having been smashed in the face by a teammate.
Forward Leonard was left in a worrying state after a gruesome challenge with Serge Ibaka sent him straight to the floor, with some viewers observing that the 29-year-old appeared to have been involved in a bruising MMA fight as he stayed prone on the court while blood poured from his mouth.
As blood dripped onto Leonard’s arm and the surface, there were concerns that the two-time NBA champion could have sustained lasting damage in the chilling collision with the unwitting Ibaka.
“When I went closer to him, I saw his lips,” fellow forward Nicolas Batum told USA Today, describing the troubling incident as “kind of scary at the moment.”
Warning: video contains graphic material
Not sure I’ve ever seen a face move like this. I hope Kawhi is okay. pic.twitter.com/3QLI8vLAMZ
This had to hurt…Kawhi Leonard takes a nasty elbow to the mouth from Clippers teammate Serge Ibaka. 😱pic.twitter.com/Did2RcMEox
Kawhi looks like a crime scene, hope he’s ok pic.twitter.com/hNAcY0XDbz
“It didn’t look good at all. You don’t want one of your teammates or any players like that have to blood all over him and everywhere on the floor.”
Teammate Paul George confessed to being “really worried”. “I was thinking of the worst,” he said afterwards.
Kawhi Leonard had 8 stitches to treat a mouth laceration after colliding with Serge Ibaka, the team says. After the game, coach Ty Lue said he believed Leonard will be “fine.”
Kawhi looks like he just went through 5 rounds with Gaethje! pic.twitter.com/wuUMmwELDt
I haven’t seen that much blood in a basketball game!😧Hope Kawhi gets better soon🙏🏻 #kawhileonard#laclipperspic.twitter.com/IZBxPz2ZpW
“I didn’t know if he was concussed or how hard of a hit [it was]. First and foremost, I was making sure he was OK.”
Shaken Leonard eventually rose to his feet and left the court following the injury late in the fourth quarter, reportedly requiring eight stitches to a mouth laceration.
Y’all soft under these comments lol he cut his face… he didn’t die
Literally an elbow. He didn’t get smoked with a baseball bat people. pic.twitter.com/Ox4jDTCPuk
People acting like the man was just paralyzed for life.
“I didn’t even see it,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, addressing his side’s 120-108 victory. “He’s going to be fine.
“He got up and walked off the floor, so he’s good. Nothing was said…you know, ‘next man up’.”