Kawhi Leonard Undergoes Successful ACL Surgery
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers announced Kawhi Leonard underwent successful surgery to repair a partial tear of the ACL in his right knee. There is no timetable for the All-Star forward’s return.
The Clippers say Kawhi Leonard had surgery to repair a partial tear of his right ACL. Leonard got hurt in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. pic.twitter.com/48NKYAZZp8
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 14, 2021
Leonard was injured during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. “It’s good, next question,” Leonard responded when asked about his knee after Game 4. He missed the team’s final eight playoff games with what the team called a sprained right knee. The Clippers later found out that the injury was more serious than they initially realized.
The Clippers came back from a 2-0 series deficit without Leonard, eliminating the Jazz and advancing to the Western Conference Finals. They eventually fell to the Phoenix Suns in six games, falling short of their championship goals.
Leonard’s future and health are now an issue for the team going forward. The All-Star forward could take one year to return from his partial ACL tear. Leonard has a player option for next season worth $36 million. He can re-sign with the Clippers for only a four-year, $176.2 million deal as an early-bird free agent if he declines the player option. If Leonard opts in, he will earn full bird rights and will be able to sign a new five-year deal.
Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists during the regular season. In the playoffs, the All-Star averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists. If he had not sustained an injury, the Clippers very well could have advanced to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, we will never know.