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Steve Ballmer’s cryptic response on Kawhi Leonard’s return to Clippers in 2021-22

Clippers, Kawhi Leonard, Steve Ballmer, Kawhi Leonard injury return

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard suffered an ACL injury in the playoffs last season, and the surgery will knock him out for at least a good chunk of the 2021-22 season. Given his history, there’s also the possibility of Leonard missing the entire season. The Clippers star will surely be extremely cautious when it comes to his return.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was asked about Leonard’s status as the franchise unveiled their new stadium plans, and he naturally gave a rather cryptic, wishy-washy response. Via Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports:

“Nobody knows at this stage,” Ballmer said. “Nobody knows. It’s possible. For sure, it’s possible. But it will depend on what the doctors say and what Kawhi says.”

This is the right way to go about it. There’s no point in putting any firm timetable on this. The doctors will clear Leonard when they think he’s ready, and then he’ll ultimately make a decision on when he’s comfortable returning to the court.

The Clippers are going to be a good team with or without Leonard. They came close to advancing to the NBA Finals even without him after he got hurt in the second round. With Paul George and a deep roster leading the way, LA should have a good season.

Of course, Leonard’s status will be hanging over the entire campaign. If he does come back, they become a much more legitimate championship contender. If he doesn’t, LA would be a tough out that would likely fall short again.