On schedule to play in Monday night’s pre-season game against the Portland Trail Blazers for the Los Angeles Clippers is forward Kawhi Leonard. Head coach Ty Lue said to the media, “Kawhi will play Monday,” as the Clippers prepared for their first preseason game on Friday in Seattle against the Israeli club Maccabi Ra’anana.

Leonard, who was sidelined along with a number of other players, has not played since Game 4 of the second round of the 2021 Playoffs when he tore his ACL against the Utah Jazz. A ruptured ACL was the latest in a string of problems for Leonard, who has not played in more than 60 games in a season since 2017.

“He [Leonard] looked really good. Went through everything, both practices, so it was good to see. We’ve got to be smart about the situation, about the process. We know he feels great, which is great news and great to hear. But we’ve got to listen to Kawhi’s body, be able to listen to the medical staff and make sure we’re doing the right thing for Kawhi,” Tyron Lue told the reporters.

Kawhi Leonard feeling stronger than before

The big issue now is whether or not he can return to his peak form after missing so much time. There is no doubt that he has taken advantage of the break by going to the gym. Leonard, who has been seen flaunting his ripped legs in social media posts, claims to be in better physical shape than ever before.

“I feel stronger, yeah. I feel stronger for sure. It’s been, what, 14-15 months of no basketball. That whole 13-14 months process is just lifting, lifting weights, and getting stronger. But I definitely got a lot stronger,” said Leonard.