There may finally be an end in sight for Kawhi Leonard’s injury woes. After suffering a partial ACL tear in the 2021 playoffs, Leonard has been on the sidelines for nearly 500 days. He underwent surgery after the tear and took the entire 2021-2022 season to rehab.
After such a lengthy recovery, Leonard was officially cleared to participate in 5-on-5 activity back in late September and made his first appearance in the Clippers preseason game against the Trailblazers. His playing time was closely managed, but he was still able to put out 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and zero turnovers while he was on the court.
Leonard appeared to be ready for the regular season, but there is no doubt the Clippers will keep a close eye on his minutes. Cutting and lateral movements could still be affected, but given the amount of time that has passed since the initial injury, we would expect that he would be close to fully healed (ACL injuries take about 9-12 months for a full recovery).
Unfortunately, Leonard has a history of nagging lower body injuries, including a quad injury that kept him off the court for over a year. As long as the Clippers manage his load, we hopefully shouldn’t see a repeat of the quad saga.