Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard may end up playing this season after all.
On TNT Thursday night, insider Chris Haynes reported that Leonard is ahead of scheduling in rehabbing his torn ACL and that a return to the Clippers this season is a “strong possibility.” Per Haynes, Leonard had looked “stronger and stronger” in his rehab, tracking with early reports prior to the season that Leonard was ahead of schedule.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 7, 2022
Leonard suffered his injury last season during the Clippers’ Western Conference semifinal matchup against the Utah Jazz. Going into the playoffs, he missed the last eight games of the regular season with that the team called a sprain and was later reported to be a partially torn ACL.
If Leonard can in fact return this year, it could have massive implications on the Western Conference playoff race and in the title picture. Currently, Los Angeles is eighth in the West, putting them in the play-in for the moment, and that’s not just without Leonard, but also Paul George missing time due to an elbow injury. Once George comes back, and if Leonard can return and get back to where he was pre-injury in short order, the Clippers would be a nightmare matchup for a top seed and could shake up the West playoffs in a big way.