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Clippers share big injury update on Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard in a warmup shirt

Jun 8, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) warms up prior to game one in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is on the verge of making his return to the court.

Clippers head coach Ty Lue confirmed that Leonard is available to play Tuesday in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round matchup against the Dallas Mavericks at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, Calif.

“Yeah, he’s playing,” Lue said of Leonard when asked about the All-Star’s status for Game 2.

“He’s done all the necessary things to be on the floor. He’s checked every box. … We’d never put a guy on the floor that’s not ready to go. And so, he’s ready to go.”

Leonard was seen warming up before the news of his return was made public. Leonard had missed the Clippers’ last nine games — including Game 1 of the series — due to right knee inflammation.

Game 2 will mark Leonard’s first time as a Clipper playing in front of a full-capacity playoff crowd at Crypto.com Arena. The 32-year-old is in his fifth season with the Clippers. Leonard’s first playoff action with the team was at the 2020 NBA Bubble at Orlando, Fla. He got hurt during the 2021 playoffs before full capacity was allowed.

Leonard played two road games during the 2023 playoffs before being ruled out with an injury. The Clippers missed the playoffs entirely in 2022.

The Clippers managed to win Game 1 on Sunday without Leonard. Their chances of going up 2-0 in the series over the Mavericks improved significantly with Leonard back in the lineup.

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