After a full year away from the court, Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard is closer to suiting up once again to play in a regular season game.
The two-time NBA Champion and five-time All-Star has been cleared to participate in the team's upcoming training camp and play in 5-on-5, team president Lawrence Frank told reports Thursday.
Though Frank did not reveal how much Leonard will be involved in the team's training camp, which begins next week, or whether he will play in the Clippers' four preseason games, he did say that Leonard has been practicing in controlled settings since undergoing surgery to report his torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in July 2021.
"He comes in at 7 a.m. and just from the time he steps into the building to the time he leaves, many times four or five hours later, it's all purposeful work, whether it's in the performance room, whether it's on the court, whether it's film study," Frank said to reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "You know, Kawhi is all about one thing, and so, you know, a lot of encouraging news. And also, again, as an organization, we know what the big picture is. We know what our goal is, and we will be very cautious and take a methodical approach."
It's also unclear at this moment whether Leonard will play in the team's season opener on Oct. 20 vs the Lakers.
Nevertheless, the good news for Clippers is that the two-time defensive player of the year will be suiting up sooner rather than later for the Clippers.
Leonard averaged 24.8 points. 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for Los Angeles during the 2020-21 season for Los Angeles.
Leonard suffered the torn ACL during the Western Conference Semifinals series during that season.
Paired with fellow All-Star Paul George, head coach Tyronn Lue and the team's deep roster, the Clippers will once again be a top contender in the Western Conference with a healthy Leonard.
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