We haven't seen Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard on an NBA court since the 2021 playoffs, but the veteran is progressing well in his recovery from the torn ACL in his right knee that he suffered in the second round against the Utah Jazz. Leonard underwent surgery on the knee last July.
Though no timeline has been provided in regards to his return, Leonard hasn't been facing restrictions regarding his recovery this month, according to The Athletic. Additionally, Leonard is also doing well mentally, which is always important following a serious injury.
From The Athletic:
The primary item to watch this offseason is Leonard's recovery from surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee, which took place last July. I am told Leonard has not been restricted at all this month as he continues what has been to this point a successful rehabilitation process. Leonard has also been locked in mentally, as multiple sources suggest the mental hurdles that usually come with an ACL injury and long-term rehab have not deterred him. Though Leonard appears to be bigger, he has actually slimmed down at this point in his recovery and is continuing to take care of his body.
The Clippers have been very careful not to put any kind of timeline on Leonard's recovery and have given very few significant updates on his progress. That will likely continue after the draft, as there's no advantage to Leonard or the team to provide timely updates when Week 1 of the NBA season is not until mid-October. But the optimism surrounding Leonard's improvement, however guarded, seems to be validated by those who have been around him regularly. That has especially been the case since the season ended two months ago.
After the 2022 NBA Draft, Clippers president Lawrence Frank said that Leonard isn't yet participating in five-on-five play, but he confirmed that the multi-faceted forward is indeed progressing well.
"Yeah, he continues to do great," Frank said of Leonard. "He's maniacal in his work ethic. It's fun to see. I'm glad we can afford the light bill because he's putting in the hours. But yeah, he's doing great, and he continues to progress, and it's great seeing him on the court."
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Though no timetable has been provided for his return, the goal is certainly to have Leonard out on the court for the start of the '22-23 season. The Clippers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018 last season, but that was largely due to injury issues, as the team's two biggest stars barely played. Leonard missed the whole season, and Paul George was limited to just 31 games due to an elbow injury. If both of those guys are back and healthy, the Clippers should again be a legitimate contender in the Western Conference next season.