Kawhi Leonard showed little-to-no rust in his long-awaited return from injury.
In his first game since suffering a partially torn ACL in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Leonard came off the bench to score 14 points and grab seven rebounds in 21 minutes. He helped the Clippers defeat the Lakers to start their 2022-23 season with a win.
The Clippers are clearly taking a cautious approach with Leonard in his return. What does that mean for his status this weekend?
Here’s the latest on Leonard’s availability for LA’s matchup with Sacramento.
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The Clippers will play a back-to-back this weekend, facing the Kings in Sacramento on Saturday and the Suns in Los Angeles on Sunday. According to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Leonard acknowledged after the team’s win over the Lakers that he wouldn’t likely play against both the Kings and Suns.
“You gotta gradually play minutes in order to get the ACL strong,” Leonard said. “Once you start playing 38 minutes first game, it could easily weaken up, but I’m listening to the doctor with that.
“It’s a long season. We wanna get in the playoffs and want me to play in the playoffs.”
Leonard’s availability against the Suns is still unknown, but he has been ruled out against the Kings with right knee injury management.
Clippers vs. Kings will air on NBC Sports Bay Area & California and Bally Sports SoCal. Viewers in the rest of the United States can stream the game on NBA League Pass or Sling TV.
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Clippers vs. Kings is scheduled to tip off around 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 22. The game will be played at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Here are LA’s next five games:
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