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Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard looks jacked in newly released footage

Kawhi Leonard 1, Kawhi Leonard 2, Clippers

August is peak NBA offseason, but the LA Clippers are hoping to keep their fans on the edge of their seats. Kawhi Leonard isn’t on social media and is rarely seen in public, so footage of the Clippers star always gets fans excited.

On Monday, the Clippers posted a series of photos of Leonard and Reggie Jackson on their Instagram page, as well as a video of Leonard walking. In the video, Kawhi Leonard looked particularly jacked, to say the least.

In additional to the clip, Kawhi Leonard was seen working out with fellow Clippers teammates in the gym on UC Santa Barbara’s campus. Paul George, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Reggie Jackson, John Wall, Amir Coffey, and Jason Preston could all be seen working out with Leonard on Saturday.

Kawhi Leonard has been actively working out and preparing for the 2022-23 NBA regular season. His return to the basketball court is expected when the season starts, but his status will likely be monitored and updated throughout training camp.

The only sure thing is that the Clippers will want to bring Leonard back slowly and will rest their star throughout the season, ensuring his health is the number one priority.

Leonard last played on an NBA court on June 14, 2021, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Leonard suffered the torn left ACL and underwent surgery to repair the ACL on July 13, almost a full month later.

There was mild optimism that Kawhi Leonard could return at some point during the 2021-22 season, but the Clippers were eliminated in the play-in tournament and the two-time NBA Finals MVP never had a chance.

Following the NBA Draft on June 23, Clippers president Lawrence Frank said Kawhi Leonard has been making significant progress in his recovery the ACL surgery, but was not playing five-on-five basketball yet.

“Yeah, he continues to do great,” said Lawrence Frank. “He’s maniacal in his work ethic. It’s fun to see. I’m glad we can afford the light bill because he’s putting in the hours. But yeah, he’s doing great, and he continues to progress, and it’s great seeing him on the court.

“I think he’s on course where he’s developing really well. But like five-on-five isn’t something I think that he’s doing at this point.”

Once Leonard does return, the plan is to be extremely cautious with both him and Paul George. The Clippers have significant depth on this team, and it’s something head coach Tyronn Lue plans to use to ensure everyone is kept as healthy and fresh as possible heading into the late stages of the season.

The NBA’s regular season schedule is set to be released in mid-August, which will give the Clippers time to create a plan for Leonard while media members and fans try to predict what that plan will look like.

According to FanDuel, the Clippers have the fourth highest odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship at +700, behind only the Boston Celtics (+450), Milwaukee Bucks (+550), and Golden State Warriors (+650).

If healthy, there’s no reason the Clippers don’t plan through at least late May as they pursue their first NBA Championship in franchise history.