Clippers' Kawhi Leonard to make return on Monday in preseason game vs. Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is on track to make his go back to the court on Monday night in a preseason contest versus the Portland Trail Blazers. Prior to the group’s opening preseason video game versus Israeli side Maccabi Ra’anana in Seattle on Friday, Clippers head coach Ty Lue informed press reporters, “Kawhi will play Monday.” 

Leonard, who remained of that video game in addition to a variety of other beginners, has actually not played given that the 2nd round of the 2021 playoffs, when he tore his ACL in Game 4 versus the Utah Jazz. While that was the very first complete season he has actually missed out on in his profession, the torn ACL was the most recent in a series of concerns for Leonard who has actually not handled to play more than 60 video games in a season given that 2017. 

Now, the concern is whether he can restore his elite type after such a prolonged layoff. At the extremely least, it’s clear he’s utilized the time off to strike the health club. Photos on social networks revealed his legs looking especially muscular, and Leonard stated he feels much more powerful heading into the season.

“I feel stronger, yeah,” Leonard stated throughout media day. I feel more powerful for sure. It’s been, what, 14, 15 months of no basketball — well, playing in an NBA season for me, no basketball. That entire 13, 14-month procedure is simply raising, raising weights and getting more powerful. But I absolutely got a lot more powerful.”

Lue, for one, has actually been satisfied, informing press reporters after practice previously today, “[Leonard] looked really good. Went through everything in both practices.” Still, the Clippers are going to play it safe with their star guy provided his long layoff and injury history. 

“We’ve got to be smart about the situation, about the process,” Lue stated on media day. “We know he feels great, which is great news and great to hear. But we’ve got to listen to Kawhi’s body, be able to listen to the medical staff and make sure we’re doing the right thing for Kawhi.”

Despite not having Leonard and Paul George being restricted to 31 video games, the Clippers completed eighth in the Western Conference last season at 42-40. They were removed by the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in competition, nevertheless, in big part due to George’s lack. With those 2 stars back healthy this season, the Clippers have hopes of making some sound at the top of the West, and perhaps contending for a champion. 

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