The injury that forced All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard to miss the second stretch of the LA Clippers’ postseason run has been more severe than it was initially assumed. The organization released a statement on Tuesday confirming that Leonard is dealing with a partially torn ACL in his right knee.
According to the statement, the 30-year-old superstar underwent surgery to repair the ACL earlier this week and is expected to make full recovery.
Although Leonard didn’t tear his ACL completely, he is still expected to be out for a significant period of time. The Clippers didn’t offer a timeline for his return in their statement, but the reports say that Leonard might be looking to a recovery period anywhere from eight to 12 months.
Kawhi Leonard got injured during the Western Conference semi-finals against the Utah Jazz. He went down in the fourth quarter of Game 4, and the team initially labeled the injury as a sprained knee. The Clippers went on to beat the Jazz but fell down to the Phoenix Suns in the conference finals.
Leonard enjoyed a good run in 2020-21, averaging 24.8 points in 52 games during the regular season. He also added 6.5 rebounds and career-high 5.2 assists. He was even better in the postseason, managing 30.4 points, 7.7 boards, and 4.4 assists before the injury.
Leonard has a player option with the Clippers for next season, which he was projected to decline and test the free agency. The injury might alter his plans, however, as he will most likely miss the better part of the 2021-22 NBA season.