RUMOR: Clippers star Kawhi Leonard timeline to return from ACL surgery
Kawhi Leonard continues to have a checkered history with injuries. The Los Angeles Clippers star adds another bout with the injury bug this offseason, after officially undergoing surgery for a partially torn ACL.
The Clippers heavily downplayed the significance of the injury, with the diagnosing simply being a “sprained right knee” in Game 4 of their Western Conference Semi-Finals series, per report from ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly.
Clippers’ star Kawhi Leonard has suffered a sprained right knee late in Game 4.
Leonard is OUT for Game 5 and has no timetable to return.https://t.co/lrnorWsQ6S
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 16, 2021
Now that the news has broken on the ACL tear and subsequent surgery, the Clippers star is looking at a lengthy stint on the sidelines. But the question on fans’ minds is for how long? The Clippers’ official statement gave no further details on a potential return:
Kawhi Leonard underwent successful surgery today to repair a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament. There is no timetable for his return.
But going off similar injuries to other NBA players, the outlook isn’t looking great. Jeff Stotts from In Street Clothes notes that there’s no doubt that the injury will keep the Clippers star out for well into the 2021-22 NBA season.
Re: Kawhi: Thomas Bryant & Spencer Dinwiddie each missed 60+ games after undergoing surgery for Grade 2 (partial tear) ACL injuries earlier this season. Dinwiddie was cleared for basketball activities ~6 months after surgery. Look for Kawhi’s recovery to carryover into next year.
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) July 14, 2021
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who last played way back in December of 2020 before sustaining his own ACL injury, took six months to be cleared of basketball activities. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to get healthy enough to play for a team that definitely needed his services in the postseason. Had he been anywhere near healthy enough, they probably would have given him a second look. The fact that they played a hamstring-hampered James Harden instead shows how serious these ACL injuries must be treated.
Kawhi Leonard has infamously been highly cautious when it comes to treating his injuries. The Clippers have been fully supportive of the Klaw’s desire to manage his load thus far, so you better believe Kawhi isn’t coming back until he feels 100%.
All we know for sure is the the Clippers star is missing a good chunk of the early part of next season. If Kawhi Leonard returns to basketball activities in half a year, similar to Dinwiddie, and takes 2-3 months to ramp up to in-game shape, he’d be coming back just in time for the 2022 NBA playoffs.
But that feels like best case scenario at this point. Add on top of everything the fact that the Clippers have to be in playoff contention without Kawhi Leonard playing for most of the regular season in the first place.
Buckle up, Clippers fans. This is going to be an interesting season.