While addressing the media on Thursday, the Clippers’ President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said that Kawhi Leonard has been cleared for 5-on-5 work. He also said that Kawhi Leonard wants to do “everything”, but they’re going to be cautious.
“One, he feels great,” Frank said. “Two, his plan is, look, he wants to participate in everything,” Frank said. “And I think three, organizationally, we’re going to be cautious. There will be a step-by-step approach.” (h/t Law Murray)
Kawhi missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2021. The Clippers lost in the Western Conference Finals that year and in the play-in tournament last season. There’s been a “what if” every year since Kawhi and Paul George joined forces in LA.
Frank also said that George is 100% healthy and has had an “extremely productive off-season”. PG missed 43 games last season with an elbow injury. The team has been plagued by injuries for years, but things are looking up as they enter the season.
The team didn’t give an official timeline for Kawhi’s return to the court. However, Kawhi wanting to do “everything” includes the preseason. It may be a very limited sample size, but we could see him play in the preseason. Their first preseason game will be on October 3rd against Portland.
The Clippers have high expectations this season with their star duo back healthy and the addition of Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and John Wall since the trade deadline last season. They will be incredibly careful to avoid their season being derailed by injuries yet again.