After missing the entire 2021-2022 season, it has been almost 2 years since the Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward last stepped his foot on the hardwood. With just a few months before the 2022-2023 season commences, a lot of fans are already asking – Is Kawhi Leonard returning next season?
The two-time NBA champion went down with a season-ending injury after colliding with Joe Ingles during game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. In June 2021, the now 31-year-old star was already ruled out for the rest of the series. The following month, in July, the Clippers announced that Kawhi suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. He underwent surgery shortly.
KAWHI LEONARD INJURY UPDATE
As of the moment, Leonard is still listed as out indefinitely. But, according to the latest reports, he is “physically and mentally” recovered although he still needs to work out a lot with the team. In an article by The Athletic’s writer Law Murray, Clippers president Lawrence Frank shared some information regarding the status of Leonard’s health.
“I was able to update Leonard’s status before the NBA Draft last month, and Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank affirmed Leonard’s positive progress the night of the draft. Everyone who has been around Leonard this offseason, both with the team and outside the team, has suggested that Leonard is physically ready for next season and is not carrying any mental angst that comes with a return from an ACL surgery,” Law Murray wrote in his article.
Murray also assumed that Kawhi could take part in pre-season games which in our opinion is still highly unlikely. So, to address the previous question – regarding Kawhi’s return next season – it would be safe to assume that he could be suiting up for the clippers very soon. If Kawhi does return to the roster, he will be joining a team that has added a lot of key pieces like the veteran point guard John Wall.
There’s no saying if Kawhi Leonard would be in full health let alone return to his former All-Star form.
- Coming back to a terrible injury like a torn ACL is never easy. A lot of talented athletes fell from being a superstar to mere role players due to injuries. While some return to their former self, others aren’t just so lucky. Another superstar who suffered a similar injury as Kawhi was the second half of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson.
- Klay, who succumbed to a torn ACL during a Finals game against the Toronto Raptors in 2019, went sidelines for almost 3 years. He returned to the court last January 9, 2022, and although he is still adjusting, he became an integral part of the Golden State Warriors championship run last playoffs.
Fortunately, Kawhi had a lot of time to recover and for rehabilitation. Because of that, he could be well prepared to contend in the Western Conference alongside another star, Paul George. Before Kawhi went down with an injury, he averaged 24.8 points, 5.2 assists, and 6.5 rebounds a game.
Do you see think a Clippers team with a healthy Kawhi Leonard will become a huge threat in the West? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.
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