When Kawhi Leonard went down with an injury in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals last season against the Jazz, it was a devastating blow to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi was on an absolute tear in that postseason and while they still managed to get past the Jazz without him, the Phoenix Suns proved to be a bit too much to handle in the Conference Finals.
The following season would end up being a lost cause for Leonard when it was revealed that he had an ACL tear, and while the Clippers had a respectable season, they were eliminated in the play-in tournament. Misfortune struck them there as well, as Paul George couldn't play in the do-or-die game against the Pelicans after testing positive for COVID-19.
Clippers Insider Says Kawhi Leonard's Timetable For Return Is Still A Mystery
George also dealt with some injury issues for much of last season, but he is completely healthy now, which is a big boost to the team. Kawhi should ideally be fully healthy as well, considering it has been over a year since he suffered that ACL tear, but Clippers insider Ohm Youngmisuk revealed on NBA Today on ESPN that there is still no timetable for his return.
"To nobody's surprise, this is being shrouded a little bit in mystery. The Clippers have not given a timetable on his return because really the matter of fact is they are gonna follow Kawhi Leonard's lead with this and see how he feels with each step. We have seen snippets through social media and the Clippers of how he is looking and doing in workouts. We don't see a lot but he looks like he has bulked up. He looks like he is in great shape."
"Everything I hear, he has been religious and methodical about working out. He has organized workouts with Paul George in Santa Barbara and San Diego with the team, so he is certainly invested in coming back but we have to wait and see how he's gonna feel with each step."
The snippets that have been put out show Kawhi looking extremely buff, as Ohm points out. The Clippers are still going to let him take his time and considering how relations between Kawhi and the Spurs soured over his injury recovery, that is a smart move.
They don't need him to play right away either, as they probably have the deepest roster in the NBA. Considering all the talent at their disposal, Zach Lowe stated that this is the most important season in the history of the Clippers franchise, as they need to capitalize on what they have right now and go win it all. Leonard staying healthy is key to that and they'll be giving him all the time he needs to have a full recovery.