Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said he is feeling good but head coach Doc Rivers insisted the team will take a cautious approach ahead of the NBA playoffs.
Leonard’s arrival for the resumption of the 2019-20 season was delayed after being excused due to a family matter, with the Clippers flying to Orlando last week.
The two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP trained with his team-mates on Monday – his first practice session since the league was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March – as the Clippers prepare for the season to restart on July 30.
The Clippers and Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers will headline the NBA’s comeback on July 30 at the Disney World complex, and Leonard is ready.
“Has it been four months?” Leonard said when asked about his health following a four-month break.
“I mean, I feel good. You know, was able to work out, get strong and prepare for this moment now that we’re in. It’s about to be the first practice today, so I’m excited.”
In his first season with the Clippers after guiding the Toronto Raptors to their first championship, Leonard has been averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
The Clippers, however, have managed a knee issue in 2019-20, with Leonard not playing in the second of back-to-back games this season.
Asked about the Clippers (44-20) and their plans for Leonard leading into the postseason, Rivers – whose team are second in the west – said: “I don’t know that yet. But no limits. Kawhi is healthy for the most part.
“That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this.”