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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Clippers teammate gives update on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George potential returns

Kawhi Leonard in his Clippers uniform

One LA Clippers player is revealing when the cavalry might be coming.

Speaking this week in an interview with French outlet First Team, Clippers forward Nicolas Batum offered an update on the potential return dates of stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

“We hope that after the All-Star break or early March they will come back,” said Batum, according to a translation from SI’s Farbod Esnaashari. “Before leaving for the trip Tuesday morning, I went to do my COVID test and went to the gym. I saw Kawhi sweating, working out. He’s trying to come back. I don’t know if it will be this year, I am hoping so but I don’t know. If we get them in the next six weeks … We have a base of players around them who have a good level.”

Leonard continues to recover from a partially torn ACL suffered during the playoffs last June. There was recently another positive update on his status as well. With George, the shorter-term situation is a bit more uncertain. He has not played since December with a torn UCL in his shooting elbow. The Clippers are hoping that it heals with time off, but there is always the possibility of eventual surgery.

Of course, much will depend on where the Clippers are at in the standings. They have understandably struggled without both their stars and are 23-25 on the year. But the team is fortunate to be in a weak Western Conference this season, which is a rarity. The Clippers are currently ninth in the conference and should make the play-in tournament regardless.

Ultimately, the Clippers’ roster moves before the Feb. 10 trade deadline will reveal how optimistic they are about Leonard and/or George returning. A recent report shed light on their approach heading into the deadline.

Photo: Feb 26, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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