It’s difficult to say if and when Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard will be ready for action again, but based on recent reports, things are going as well as can be expected in the five-time All-Star’s recovery.
According to an October 1 report by Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated, Leonard’s rehab from his torn ACL has been going great, and based on his progress so far, it’s entirely possible the small forward could make it back before the season ends — and definitely by the time the playoffs roll around.
“Kawhi Leonard may be out for an extended period of time this season, but he hasn’t been completely ruled out. Multiple sources have revealed that as of right now, Kawhi Leonard is ahead of schedule with his ACL tear rehab,” Esnaashari wrote on October 1.
In ‘Most Ideal Scenario,’ Kawhi Could Return March-April
“In the most ideal scenario, Leonard could return to practice around March-April,” Esnaashari reported. “League sources have indicated a hopeful return around that time frame, but it’s simply too far ahead to say right now. Those on the team are very impressed with the progress Kawhi Leonard is making, but they fully understand how far away any type of return is from now.”
This is great news for Clipper Nation, but it’s not a certainty by any means.
“Despite the optimism, March-April is still a significantly long time away from the present. Any type of setback or issue could occur from now until then. With that in mind, there’s still no official timetable for return,” Esnaashari added. “If staff doctors see any reason to shut Kawhi Leonard down, they will have no hesitancy in doing so. As of right now, those red flags don’t exist.”
Thus, the next several months will be key for Kawhi’s rehab.
Kawhi: ‘I’m Here for the Long Run’
Kawhi just agreed to a new four-year deal worth $176.3 million in August. He was averaging 24.8 points in just over 34.1 minutes per game before the ACL injury, and he says he’s not looking to put the cart before the horse where his recovery is concerned.
“Just trying to get healthy is what’s next. … That’s all I can do and take it one day at a time,” Kawhi said during the Clippers media day on September 27, via The Los Angeles Times.
“I’m here to be a Clipper. I’m not going to another team unless something drastic happens. I’m here for the long run,” he added.
Leonard’s deal included a player option in the final year, and the Clippers star seems pleased with how it turned out.
“The best situation for me was to do it one-and-one and then opt out and then sign a long-term five-year deal,” Leonard told the Times. “But there’s a lot of concerns that that brings up for you guys and your job, and it creates storylines that I’m going to leave the team. Wanted to secure some money and I wanted to be able to come back if I was able to this year.”
It’s a long time off, but so far, it’s looking like that will be possible.