Will Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Return Against Phoenix Suns? Injury Updates and More

Published 06/20/2021, 9:57 PM EDT
Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Clippers, despite starting out as a #4 team, took down the #1 seed and now stand in a better position than last season. Although they lost their opening game of the WCF against the Phoenix Suns, their form suggests that they can bounce back on any given night. 

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As of now, the concern for the Clippers has less to do with their early loss and more to do with Kawhi Leonard’s injury management. In the games where they can take advantage of Chris Paul’s absence, they’re facing their own troubles.

When is Kawhi Leonard returning? 

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Kawhi Leonard recently joined the list of All-Stars who missed at least one playoff 2021 game because of injury. On June 14, the 5x All-Star injured his right knee in the game against Utah Jazz. In his last game, The Claw scored 31 points and placed the Clippers in a winning position before landing awkwardly on his right leg and leaving in Q4. Later, the rumor of an ACL injury started circulating as the 2x Champion missed the following two outings.

However, his injury still has to undergo further imaging and one can still hope for a comeback.

But notably, The Claw will miss the initial two games against the Suns, and one can only expect an update prior to Game 3. Before this, Kawhi had missed 20 games in the regular season because of reasons like mouth laceration, lower back issues, right foot soreness, and resting days. 

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How did the Clippers lose Game 1 against the Suns?

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For one, Terence Mann, the hero from the semis’ Game 6 failed to touch the double figures. In fact, only two Clippers starters could enter that club and that dragged down their chances. Additionally, Devin Booker scored his first playoff triple-double and De’Andre Ayton added trust in an already balanced starting five. Cameron Payne, who started at Chris Paul‘s position, delivered 11 points, 3 rebs, 9 assists, 1 steal, and a block to help his squad.

Jun 16, 2021; Paul George dribbles up the court at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

But all said and done, the Clippers did bounce back twice after going down 0-2 in the series against the Jazz. And with Kawhi expected to play Game 3, one can hope for a crazy series. 

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Watch this story – Kawhi Leonard/Paul George and Other Great Duos from This Season

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Sourabh Singh

1424 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.

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