Kawhi Leonard update shows star is on his way to return by end of season

Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

During the Portland Trail Blazers vs. LA Clippers game, Allie LaForce shared that the team’s “really hopeful” that Kawhi Leonard will be back this season.

She explained that Clippers Head Coach Ty Lue has been “really encouraged that he was doing some explosive box jumping just a couple of days ago.”

This is huge. We knew he had been shooting for a while, and we knew that he had been participating with the coaches. Being able to do high-energy jumping exercises, however, is clearly huge progress for someone dealing with a partially torn ACL.

This is especially huge because earlier that day, FS1’s Skip Bayless said he had been told that the LA Clippers were choosing to not have Kawhi come back this year.

The LA Clippers are understandably feeling positive about Kawhi Leonard’s return.

The LA Clippers were on a four-game winning streak during the game that LaForce reported this. They made it five in a row that night, and are proving that they absolutely can make the playoffs without Kawhi Leonard.

They went to sleep that night as the seventh seed at 6-4 through their first ten games. If they can maintain that play, and get Kawhi back and 100% for playoff time, they’re giving themselves a shot to make a title run here.

Many basketball analysts were unsure if any Western Conference team was going to be able to win three straight road series, which is likely what the Clippers would have to do if they went in as a seven-seed. However, a playoff team who adds the best player in the Western Conference (when healthy) can beat anybody in the West, at home or not. Especially since the team that the analysts picked to be the best in the conference, the Los Angeles Lakers, has been just a shell of what they were projected to be.

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This team made the Western Conference Finals last year without Leonard, and took the Suns to a competitive six-game series. Adding Leonard just might put them over the top and into the NBA Finals.