Over the last few weeks, lingering reports and theories of Kawhi Leonard’s return started to circulate in NBA news cycles. Los Angeles Clippers executive, Lawrence Frank provided some clarity on the plan of Leonard’s rehabilitation process and the timeframe of when he would return to the floor.
According to ESPN, Frank restated the fact that Kawhi Leonard has to do “significant rehab” from his ACL injury and that “no one knows” the time frame when the Clippers franchise player will return or if he will play this season.
“I think at this point, it’s just no one knows when you’re dealing with a recovery from an ACL [injury], the time frame.”
“Even just to save you guys [from asking] throughout the year, is no one knows. You just attack it day by day. He has a very detailed plan with a great group, and we’ll just let his body and the doctors tell us when it’s the right time.”
Leonard had surgery to repair a partial tear in his right ACL on back in July and is “expected to be out for an extended period of time.” The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. He missed the final eight playoff games with what the team called a sprained right knee.
Head coach Ty Lue also weighed in on Leonard’s status, specifically when asked if he even “allows himself to think” that Leonard might return by the playoffs.
“I hope he comes back October 21st [for the opener],” he said, per ESPN. “But the reality is he’s not going to be ready then. We don’t want to force him or put any pressure on him. We want to make sure he’s rehabbing, doing everything he can to get back as soon as possible, and if that’s next season, that’s next season.”
“We don’t want to force him to come back too early. We want to make sure he’s 100% when he does come back.”
The Clippers’ offseason moves proves the patience being practiced with Leonard’s injury. In the offseason alone, they have signed frontcourt players like Isaiah Hartenstein, Harry Giles III, Nicolas Batum and Justise Winslow to potentially fill in the void left by Kawhi.
Leonard recently signed a four year max extension with the Clippers after opting out his contract to become a free agent. He averaged 24.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season.