Kawhi Leonard after long-awaited return: “I missed it”

Kawhi Leonard made his return in the Los Angeles Clippers‘ preseason 102-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. In his first game in 15-plus months, Leonard put up 11 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of play.

The Clippers played their second straight game in Seattle after beating Israel’s Maccabi Ra’Anana on Friday. Along with Leonard, John Wall made his debut for the ambitious LA franchise. Kawhi Leonard played for the first time since he tore his ACL in the 2021 playoffs.

“It was great,” Leonard said via ESPN. “Just being able to put all that hard work that I did throughout the, 14, 16 months, just able to put it to test and playing against NBA talent, it was good.”

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The Clippers will continue their preparation, as Ty Lue played all of his starters in the first half during Monday’s contest. The Clippers will now head back home to Los Angeles, and the team will play two more preseason games before their season opener on October 20th.

It’s obvious, Kawhi Leonard won’t appear to both contests, but he will probably play in one more game before the start of the season. The veteran star knows that coming back from a serious injury is a process.

“The body feels good,” Leonard said. “Obviously, I am not going to be playing 35 minutes, 38 minutes to start, so it is going to be a little shaky early, probably. But like I said, it is a journey, it’s a process, and that is what I am about.”

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