Even before the 2021-22 NBA season started, the Los Angeles Clippers had to deal with the bad news that their superstar Kawhi Leonard will most likely miss the entire season. Leonard went for ACL reconstruction surgery during the offseason, which led to him being sidelined.
Initially, it was believed that the two-time NBA champion would not return for the entire season. Fortunately for the Clippers, he has been recovering at a steady rate and could join the roster sooner rather than later. In Leonard's absence, Paul George has tried to keep the team in playoff contention and to an extent has succeeded as well.
The Clippers are 5th in the Western Conference with a record of 17-15. They are 9.5 games behind the 1st seed Phoenix Suns and might make a late push into the season if Leonard returns.
Speaking of the Klaw's comeback to basketball, Clippers executive Jerry West recently gave a piece of good news to fans.
Via Sports Illustrated:
“I have to say, I’ve never seen a harder working person in my life. If you look at him now, he looks great. Doing things that I didn’t expect he could do… Just watching him, my goodness, if you watch him walk around, you would never know that he had that operation.”
West's crucial update about Leonard will give a breath of fresh air to the Clippers organization and fans alike. After all, even without Leonard, the team is still doing decent.
When they add Kawhi to the mix, it could cause some problems for opposing teams. However, knowing he is quite injury prone, the medical staff will not rush him to make a comeback.
Most likely Kawhi will make a return to the team closer to when the regular season ends. It will give him just enough time to get into a rhythm and hopefully help the L.A. Clippers win their first NBA Championship in franchise history.
Last year, the team made it to the Conference Finals for the first time in history. Keeping that in mind, they will aim, at least, for a level higher this time around.