The first round series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks shifts to Texas, where Gmaes 3 and 4 will be played this weekend. As we gear up for the game, the biggest question that remains is will Kawhi Leonard play against the Mavs in Game 3?

Is Kawhi Leonard playing vs. Mavs in Game 3?

Kawhi Leonard is currently listed as ‘Questionable' to play Game 3 tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Although it is not official, Leonard is expected to play in the game.

Kawhi Leonard returned to the Los Angeles Clippers lineup in Game 2 following a multi-week absence with right knee inflammation. Leonard, who last played on March 31st against the Charlotte Hornets, missed the final eight regular season games as he and the Clippers medical staff battled the inflammation in his right knee.

There was a lot of uncertainty yet cautious optimism that he would be able to return at some point during the playoffs, but as Game 1 grew near, it became clear that Leonard would not be ready for that contest.

Kawhi Leonard was ultimately cleared to make his 2024 playoff debut in Game 2, just two days after missing Game 1. It was a bit surprising to see him return given that the team had no contact practice of any sort to gauge where he was at.

“Yeah, he's done all the necessary things to get on the floor,” Tyronn Lue said prior to Game 2 in Los Angeles. “And so he's checked every box and the medical [team] has done a great job of just making sure he checks those boxes. We'll never put a guy on the floor that's not ready to go, and so he's ready to go.”

When asked by a member of the media if participated in contact, Lue smiled and said, ‘there's contact tonight.'

Tyronn Lue gave no clear indication that Kawhi Leonard would be facing a minutes restriction, but admitted his overall workload would be based off of feel.

“We're just gonna gauge it to see how he feels and just kinda go off of feel and see how he's feeling.”

Leonard ended up playing a whopping 35 minutes in his return, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-17 shooting from the field, including 0-of-5 from three.

After the game, Tyronn Lue said he felt Leonard came out of the night injury free and ready to improve on his Game 2 return.

Kawhi Leonard himself said he came out of the game well and without any injuries.

“I feel good,” Kawhi Leonard told reporters after the game. “No, I felt pretty good in the game. I was OK.”

The Clippers practiced five times heading into Game 1, none of which Kawhi Leonard was able to fully participate in. Instead, Leonard was left to do the ‘mental' preparation until he was able to return.

“Just trying to make sure I can get into the game and play,” Leonard said of what he's gone through in practice. That's what last week's been about, just trying to get back on the floor.”

Leonard did not participate in a practice contact before his return and the team has not done any sort of contact work at practices or shootarounds since the postseason started, so Leonard's second crack at live basketball will come tonight against the Mavs in Game 3.

Game 3 between the Mavericks and Clippers will tip off tonight at 5PM PST. Kawhi Leonard is expected to play for the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Mavs will be without Tim Hardaway Jr. due to an ankle sprain and center Daniel Gafford is questionable to play, per ClutchPoints Mavs reporter Joey Mistretta.