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Kawhi Leonard withdraws from Team USA ahead of Olympics

Kawhi Leonard in Clippers uniform

Feb 26, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA is sending a star-studded roster to Paris for the Olympics this month, but Kawhi Leonard will no longer be a part of it.

USA Basketball announced on Wednesday that Leonard has withdrawn from the team. No specific injury was cited, but the team said in a statement that a decision was made for Leonard to focus on the upcoming NBA season rather than competing in Paris.

Leonard has battled chronic knee injuries over the last several seasons. He most most of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks this year because of inflammation in his right knee.

Team USA said Leonard “had a few strong practices,” but it would not be a surprise if he experienced issues with his knee again. When Leonard arrived at Team USA camp last week, a video went viral after many felt it showed the 33-year-old walking gingerly.

The Clippers might have to lean on Leonard more than ever next season after Paul George signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency. That may have been another factor in Leonard’s decision to sit out the Paris Olympics.

Anything less than a gold medal in Paris would be a disappointment for Team USA, though they did already have a scare in a scrimmage game.

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