Why is Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Not Playing Right Now? When Will He Return? April 22 Update

Published 04/21/2021, 10:46 PM EDT
Dec 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is tended to after an injury during a play in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy: Reuters


The Clippers are again having a very consistent regular season, something they enjoyed last year too. Especially since mid-March, they’ve played like a team that can lift the championship this year. The best part, they are able to keep the guns firing even in the absence of Kawhi Leonard.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

As is the case with any other team, the injuries have been a grim reality and the defining factor in the season. Kawhi Leonard is no proof from it and is currently on the injury list. So, what is the latest update on his recovery?

Kawhi Leonard, his injury, and the possibilities of a comeback

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Clippers are having a dream run for the past five weeks. They’re 15-3 in their last 17 games and stand a real chance to finish in the Top 2 now.

Even in the absence of Kawhi Leonard in the last six games, they won five of the clashes. The only one that they marginally lost was against the EC toppers in the dangerous Sixers.

All in all, The Claw has now missed 13 games for the team, missing a few at the beginning of the season after a jaw injury. Currently, he is dealing with foot soreness and will see a reevaluation later in the week.

As per the team’s head coach, Tyronn Lue, “He wants to play, he wants to get out there. But it’s just smart to do it (rest him) right now. With the doctors and sports science guys and the trainers we have, sometimes we got to protect the players from themselves. And right now, we are doing the right thing by Kawhi.”

Remembering last year, Kawhi would miss one of every back-to-back series just to keep fit. However, he has stretched himself this season and will surely be back very soon.

Read Also‘The Last Team Standing’- Paul George Says It’s Championship or Bust for the Clippers This Season

NBA analysts backing the Clippers for resting The Claw

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Currently, the load management issues are crippling almost every other NBA team. A 71-day gap between two seasons has made injuries more common than ever. So, it makes sense for the Clippers to deal with Kawhi in a smart way.

In an interview, former NBA player Richard Jefferson expressed, “If you’re the Clippers, it’s about health. If I’m looking at the league, if we’re the healthiest team, we have the best chance of winning a championship more this year than ever before because there are so many injuries… If they say a week, give him two weeks, make sure he’s 100% healthy coz this could be a golden opportunity.”

Also, the Clippers have no reason to rush his comeback, given that they’re playing so well. Paul George is on fire and he is continuously dropping 30+ points each night. His three-point shooting has also improved, and all that has helped the Clippers’ offense. It is true they’re struggling in a few areas, but the players like Rajon Rondo, Serge Ibaka, and Nic Batum have sparked great chemistry in the time being. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Do you see the Clippers making it to the NBA Finals this year? Help us know in the comments.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Sourabh Singh

1138 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT