In the last few weeks of the NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have begun to rediscover their feet. After opening the season 2-4, they won six of their last eight games.
As the Clippers appear to have a new lineup each night, the club is beginning to develop a rhythm as they navigate minute constraints and restrictions for some players. Tyronn Lue gets a lot of credit for navigating this, especially when one of the guys they are still waiting on is past NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
It is widely anticipated Leonard’s return at the start of the season. He damaged his knee in the second round of the 2021 playoffs, so he missed the entire 2021-22 season. With him in the lineup, the Clippers boast the deepest and most talented lineup in the NBA. Unfortunately for them, he has yet to be able to crack the starting lineup.
Leonard played on the first night of the season before missing Game 2 and playing in Game 3. He was on a severe minute’s restriction, playing roughly 21 minutes per game. He hasn’t played since the game on October 23rd, owing to difficulties with a surgically repaired knee.
While there is nothing specific in this update, it is reasonably optimistic that Leonard is heading toward a return rather than away from it. And this will need to be controlled throughout the season. Leonard will most likely take more time off between now and the season’s end.
Unfortunately, the Clippers are only concerned about his health and readiness for the postseason. It is more vital to have him healthy in April and May for the postseason than to push him for regular season games prior to Thanksgiving.