Kawhi Leonard’s health status is at this point a constant mystery, but after suffering a partially torn ACL in his right knee during last season’s playoffs, Leonard is believed to be ahead of schedule in his recovery, according to a report from Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated Fan Nation’s All Clippers blog.
Even based on a speedy timeline, Leonard would still not be due back until the spring from his July 13 surgery, leaving him and the Clippers very little time to get back into rhythm before the playoffs. Coming off a freshly signed big-money contract extension and with a history of significant injuries in both knees, Leonard has no reason to rush his return.
Still, Leonard has still not made it to the Western Conference Finals since joining the Clippers, as he was injured and unable to join the team in their bout with the Suns this summer. There’s likely some internal pressure to finally put together a real push for a championship, and Los Angeles will need Leonard healthy to do that.
Despite the injury, Leonard has been seen at the Clippers’ recent arena unveiling as well as at media day and other recent Los Angeles sporting events. That’s a good sign, but of course the real deciding factor for how quickly Leonard can return will be how his body responds once he gets back on the court to test the knee.