Kawhi, cruciate ligament surgery and no return date

The Clippers star, with his future to be decided, undergoes surgery to repair a partial tear. Your availability for the next course, on the air.


Hard blow for the Los Angeles Clippers, for the NBA and, above all, for Kawhi Leonard. As announced by the Los Angeles franchise, the forward has undergone a successful operation for a partial tear in his anterior cruciate ligament. Without an official date for his possible return, the recovery could extend from 6 months to the full year, as can be deduced from previous interventions. The injury dates back to the fourth game between Clippers and Utah Jazz (June 14), of the Western Conference semifinals. So far, no information on the player's physical condition had been provided. Officially, it was only announced that he suffered a "knee sprain", without further details. After the same game, however, suspicions began to grow. "Okay, next question," replied, in a cryptic tone, the player himself at a press conference. After that, the star became a doubt for the rest of the playoffs, being finally discarded. A month later, the severity of his injury is known.

The mishap occurs in very particular circumstances. Kawhi will soon have to accept or decline a $ 36 million player option. If denied, he would enter free agency. "Obviously, if I am healthy, the best decision will be to reject the player option," said the player in December. Whatever happens, his future, however, can remain tied to the Clippers, being able to negotiate a new contract. And, whatever the decision, it will also be made amidst a multitude of rumors. Just two weeks ago, some discontent was seeping from their surroundings over the way the franchise's medical service had treated the injury.

Lots of uncertainty, both for the team and for the player, who, in the worst case scenario, could lose practically the entirety of next season. Kevin Pelton, a journalist for ESPN, collects several cases of players who, throughout their career, have been forced to undergo the same surgery as Kawhi. The closest examples are Thomas Bryant of the Washington Wizards and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets. From the moment of his injury, in the present course, neither of them returned to play any game. Accumulating, in total, 10 the first and 3 the second. In Dinwiddie's case, however, there was speculation about his return for a hypothetical Nets Finals, reducing his recovery time to less than six months. That might be the best scenario for Leonard, who would return to the slopes near the midpoint of next course.

The worst, would lead him to delay his return until, practically, the playoffs. It would happen if you followed the deadlines of, for example, Vitaly Potapenko or Rajon Rondo. Both, as players for the Boston Celtics, suffered the same injury as Kawhi. In the case of the first, in 2002, he was injured in April and, after undergoing surgery a month later (like Leonard), he did not return until December. In the case of the second, the time off was extended to practically a full year. Case similar to Tony Wroten of Philadelphia 76ers in 2015.

The situation, however, doesn't have to have a big impact on Kawhi's decision (although it can). Kevin Durant is an example of this: In 2019, he signed his current relationship with the Nets knowing that he would miss the season entirely. Going out to free agency, then, remains a real option for Leonard, whether it's to re-sign with the Clippers or to be part of a new project. According to Bobby Marks (ESPN), the first option would be the most reasonable, reaching 176.2 million dollars in four years. The Clippers, however, whether they convince their franchise player or not, will have to plan their next season by placing themselves in the worst possible scenario: not being able to count on their services throughout the course. With Paul George renewed before the start of this season (226 million for five years), Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum (free agents) are in the air. Decisions that the franchise will have to make and reconcile with the new situation, even tougher considering its recent postseason, much more exciting than the previous one.

Photos from as.com

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