Last season, the Clippers made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. If they want to make it to this playoff round again, they will have to collectively replace the production of their best player.
Kawhi Leonard will be suspended indefinitely after undergoing surgery in July to correct a partial ACL crack in his right knee. Leonard may be able to return to rotation at some point during the 2021-22 season, but from Paul George and Co. is expected to launch a new campaign hard work.
What will happen to Leonard next? Here’s everything we know about his injury, and the latest news on when he may return to court.
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What is Kawhi Leonard’s injury?
Leonard suffered a right knee injury during match 4 of the Western Conference 2021 semifinals. The two-time NBA final MVP limped after riding to the basket against Jazz striker Joe Ingles. In the end, he sat for the last four minutes of the competition, but in his post-match interview with Rebecca Haarlow of TNT, he said, “I’ll be fine.”
Unfortunately for Leonard, the knee problem was more serious than he thought, and it ended in a spectacular playoff round. On July 13, The Clippers announced that Leonard had undergone a successful operation to repair a partially torn ACL, adding that “no schedule for his return.”
In last season’s 52 games, Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 profits, earning a spot on the first All-NBA team.
How long will Kawhi Leonard be out?
When Leonard was asked about his timeline on Clippers Media Day, he did not offer a specific date, only telling reporters that “he works with the staff day after day.”
“That’s the challenge, just to see how fast I can improve and be stronger than I was when I was healthy,” Leonard said. “That’s where I turn my thinking to a large extent.”
The 30-year-old added that he had signed a long-term contract to stay in Los Angeles in part because he wanted to play this season.
“One thing, I wanted to secure some money and I wanted to come back if I could this year,” Leonard said. “If I took one and one.” [deal]I probably wouldn’t play just to be careful, I would check out and get five years old [deal]. But I’m here. I’m here to be Clipper. I won’t go to another team unless something drastic happens. I’ve been here a long time. “
While it is not possible to know exactly how much time Leonard will miss, injury expert Jeff Stotts believes his recovery will last next year.
Re: Kawhi: Thomas Bryant and Spencer Dinwiddie missed each 60+ games after undergoing surgery due to a 2nd degree ACL injury (partial rupture) earlier this season. Dinwiddie was released for basketball activities ~ 6 months after surgery. Look for Kawhi’s recovery, which will carry over to next year.
– Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) July 14, 2021
Updates as of January 6, 2022: According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo SportsLeonard is well ahead of schedule in the convalescence and could return to the Clippers’ courts this season.
Kawhi Leonard career statistics, main points
- 19.2 points per match
- 6.4 rebounds per match
- 2.9 assist per match
- 0.6 blocks per game
- 1.8 thefts per game
- 1.6 turns per game
- 31.3 minutes per match
- 49.3 percent shooting
- 38.4 percent three-point shooting
- 85.8 percent of the shooting from the free throw