Kawhi Leonard missed the entirety of the 2021-22 NBA season while recovering from his partial ACL tear in his right knee.
Between his prolonged absence and the Los Angeles Clippers going 42-40 without him, fans have been chomping at the bits for Leonard’s return.
Well, it’s coming.
This week, video emerged of Leonard practicing – and one thing immediately caught observers’ attentions.
Leonard is looking extremely jacked these days.
Kawhi Leonard 👀
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) August 2, 2022
With social media being what it is nowadays, fans reacted immediately:
He thick, mvp season loading https://t.co/ju16ZUcOQc
— Lagbaja (@NtomaOlu) August 2, 2022
it’s lookin very scary for the west rn https://t.co/fxVxW3adUD
— Ken Spliffy Jr. (@nlmb4L150) August 2, 2022
Bully ball season https://t.co/eVDk3VZYVc
— DarkSector.20 (@BSector17) August 2, 2022
That’s just rehab weight.
He’s gonna be much slimmer when the season starts https://t.co/G1vamflww9
— Iceberg Slim (@SL7MB4NDZ) August 2, 2022
Bro got huge lmao https://t.co/AUllpBlt5q
— ClipChip Season (@isThatLondino) August 2, 2022
Bully ball time https://t.co/SMaKaOfMZZ
— webby (@webbyqqq) August 2, 2022
Good luck defending this tank https://t.co/K7xmKpXj0Y
— Stephen (@chillandbet) August 2, 2022
It’s easy to dismiss Leonard and the Clippers given him being out of action for so long and the team’s disappointing run last season. That said – it’s also worth remembering what happened the last time Leonard was out this long.
Back in 2017-18 he missed the first 27 games of the season with a right quadriceps injury. Then he came back for a one-month run between mid-December and mid-January, and then went on to miss the rest of the year.
What happened one season later? Leonard returned to action and led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history.
Recent photos of Leonard show that he is working hard to get ready for the coming 2022-23 NBA season. Clearly this means a lot to him.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 2, 2022
There was a lot of noise last year about secrets he was keeping from the Clippers’ front office and all sorts of potential ill-will, but the reality is, none of that will matter if he wins another chip.
Will this be the year Leonard wins his third NBA championship with his third different team?
Time will tell.