During that time Los Angeles Clippers‘running to the Western Conference 2020-21 final, Kawhi Leonard tore his ACL. That injury caused him to miss the entire 2021-22 season.
But here in 2022-23, Leonard returns to the field for the Clippers and has made an impact, albeit in a limited role.
Leonard explains his minute limit on Friday night and what it means for the health of his ACL.
“You have to play minute by minute to get a strong ACL. When you start playing the first 38 minutes of the game, it can easily wane,” Leonard told reporters. “I’m listening to the doctors about that.”
Most athletes, regardless of sport, can usually return from an ACL tear within 8 to 10 months. Addiction procedures and processes have made great strides in recent years, but there is often a tendency to slow down at first. Whether it’s mental or physical, a player won’t really return to form until they’ve been out of their original injury for more than a year.
Perhaps the limited game minutes and limited role for Leonard will help prevent recurrence of the injury. The only adjustment he needs to make is mental, which is no problem after missing 82 games last season.
“This is how I started my career. That’s how I approach it, mentally. Act like I’m in trouble and once I check in the second half, it’s time to play basketball,” added Leonard, via Sports Illustrated’s Daniel Chavkin.
As Leonard’s ACL gets stronger, his role will increase.