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Nicolas Batum Provides Updates On Kawhi Leonard And Paul George: “We Hope That After The All-Star Break Or Early March They Will Come Back”

Nicolas Batum Provides Updates On Kawhi Leonard And Paul George: “We Hope That After The All-Star Break Or Early March They Will Come Back”

The Los Angeles Clippers were supposed to win championships after they signed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but their first two seasons together have ended in playoff disappointment. This was made worse by Leonard picking up an ACL injury in the Western Conference Finals in 2021, resulting in him missing most, if not all of the 2021-22 regular season. 

The Clippers started decently enough even without Kawhi, with Paul George stepping up and leading them to a 7-game winning streak and an 8-4 record. They were hovering around the final automatic playoff spots for the first 20 or so games but then Paul George picked up an elbow injury as well. While the initial estimate was a month's recovery in December, there has still been no concrete timeline set for his return. 

However, Clippers man Nicolas Batum has now provided some insight into how recovery is going for both Kawhi and PG, and when they might be back playing. Speaking on a Twitch interview with First Team, Batum addressed the potential return time for both the team's superstars (translation via Fan Nation).

"We hope that after the All-Star break or early March they will come back," Batum said. "Before leaving for the trip Tuesday morning, I went to do my covid test and went to the gym, and I saw Kawhi sweating, working out. He’s trying to come back, I don’t know if it will be this year, I am hoping so but I don’t know. If we get them in the next six weeks (a whole month before the playoffs)... We have a base of players around them who have a good level."

The Clippers are without their draft picks this year, so if they can manage it, then a playoff run would be ideal for the franchise. However, Kawhi Leonard is known to be very cautious when it comes to his health and it is unlikely that he will let himself be rushed back anytime soon. As for Paul George, his return is more realistic considering the injury but the Clippers will likely need to go through the play-in tournament to get to the playoffs even if their stars return.