Kawhi Leonard returns and starts for Clippers after missing 12 games

By | November 18, 2022

Kawhi Leonard will return to the Clippers’ beginning lineup on Thursday.

LOS ANGELES- Clippers ahead Kawhi Leonard will begin Thursday’s sport towards the Detroit Pistons after lacking the final 12 video games with a proper knee damage.

He had been classified as questionable early within the day.

Leonard has performed two video games as a reserve this season hoping to protect his workload and safe late-game minutes after lacking the whole 2021-22 marketing campaign whereas rehabilitating his surgically repaired proper knee. The Eleventh-year veteran averaged 12.5 factors (44.4 FG%) and 6.5 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.

However Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has since opted towards that method.

“It was too imply,” Lue mentioned of Leonard’s earlier position on the bench. ” I didn’t like. You may have the most effective participant [on the bench].”

Leonard progressed in his restoration, enjoying for the primary time in 5-on-5 drills on November 11. Since then, Lue mentioned Leonard had performed extra 5-on-5 periods “just a few occasions.” Leonard additionally traveled with the Clippers throughout their current two-game journey to Houston and Dallas.

Lue mentioned Leonard will begin with Paul George, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac. Leonard’s return may additionally assist the Clippers soften the absence of guard Luke Kennard, who’s sidelined with a strained proper calf.

“It can take a short while for Kawhi to get again to the Kawhi we all know,” Lue mentioned. “As an incredible participant as he’s, he has to know that there are going to be ups and downs.”

Subsequently, the Clippers (8-7) come into Thursday’s sport towards Detroit (3-12) with some unanswered questions in regards to the return of the Eleventh-year veteran:

Can Leonard deal with a heavier workload?

“I am unsure,” Lue mentioned.

Will Leonard shut the sport?

“We’ll see,” Lue mentioned.

Will Leonard be topic to a pre-determined minutes restriction?

“He has sure issues that we now have to verify we do the correct manner,” Lue mentioned. “We’re not going to speak about minutes. However we watch him all through the sport and ensure all the pieces goes effectively for him.

Mark Medina is a senior author/analyst for NBA.com. You possibly can e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and comply with him on Twitter.

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