With a recent injury, Kawhi Leonard—a dominant force in the NBA known for his clutch plays and defensive prowess—had a significant setback that left supporters and sports enthusiasts anxious. Leonard, who was born on June 29, 1991, has had an incredible career, winning numerous NBA titles and Finals MVP honors.
But his recent injury has obscured his on-court presence, prompting questions about how it will affect both Leonard’s career trajectory and the success of his club. Fans of the legendary basketball player anxiously await news of Kawhi Leonard’s recovery and return to the court as more information about the type and severity of his injury becomes available.
Kawhi Leonard Injury
In 2023, injury ended Kawhi Leonard’s campaign for the third consecutive season. On April 20, despite scoring just 69 points in his first two postseason games combined, he appeared on the Clippers’ injury list out of nowhere. In the series against the Suns, which Phoenix won in five games, he was not present for Games 3, 4, and 5.
At first, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski claimed that Leonard had sprained his right knee in Game 1 but managed to play through it in Game 2. On April 26, it was discovered that the injuries were far more severe than first believed. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Leonard actually tore the meniscus in his right knee, which is why he missed the entire series.
Shams Charania shared a post on Twitter:
Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Leonard averaged 35 points in first two games of this postseason vs. Suns before the meniscus injury was revealed and he was shut down by medical staff.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 26, 2023
For Leonard, who has been dealing with injuries for what seems like forever, it’s just another heartbreaking blow. Due to injuries and poor load management, the five-time All-Star has now missed a sizable portion of time in each of the previous five NBA seasons.
Here you can also check:
- Preston Stone Injury Update: What Happened to Him?
- Terrel Bernard Injury Update: How is His Health Now?
- Igor Shesterkin Injury Update: Dealing With Problems Without the Rangers Goalie
Here is a complete history of Leonard’s injury setbacks as he recovers from this last one:
2017 NBA Playoffs: Sprained Left Ankle
In his first five NBA seasons, Leonard was able to maintain a good level of health. Other than a minor injury to his quadriceps in 2012, he never experienced any significant problems.
All of it was altered during the 2017 postseason. Leonard was forced to exit Game 5 of the Spurs vs. Rockets Western Conference Semifinal due to an injury to his left ankle. He didn’t play in Houston’s elimination game in Game 6, but he did show up for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals versus Golden State.
After a firm closeout by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, Leonard landed awkwardly with the Spurs leading by a significant margin in the third quarter. In the process, he hurt his ankle again, so he had to leave the game. In the end, the Spurs were swept by Golden State, who went on to win Game 1 despite Leonard missing the entirety of the series due to injury.
2017-18: Right Quadriceps Tendinopathy
Leonard missed the first 27 games of the next season due to a quadriceps injury. When he did return in December, it was just a month later as he needed to continue recovering from the same ailment.
There was tension in the Spurs locker room as a result of the scenario. Although Leonard’s doctors gave him the all-clear to return, he finally decided to stay off the field after consulting with them. His teammates begged him to come back after a players-only meeting in which he lost his cool, but he never played for San Antonio again.
2021 NBA Playoffs: Partially Torn ACL
In 2019, Leonard fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a champion in his only season with the Raptors. He was fortunate to escape injury over the entire season, partly because Toronto limited his playing time. Out of his team’s 82 regular season games, he only dressed for 60 of them.
2020 saw the continuation of this stringent “load management” pattern with his move to the Clippers. He played in every postseason game as the Clippers lost to the Nuggets in the second round despite appearing in just 57 of his team’s 72 regular season games.
But he had yet another serious injury during the 2021 postseason. During Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Jazz in 2020–21, Leonard suffered a partial tear to his right ACL after appearing in 52 of the Clippers’ 72 regular season games.
It was bad enough to keep him out of the postseason for the remainder of the season and the entire Los Angeles 2021–22 campaign.
2023 NBA Playoffs: Torn Right Meniscus
After spending over 16 months on the sidelines due to his ACL injury, Leonard made his complete recovery in October 2022. At the beginning of the 2022–23 season, he was gradually brought back into action, but he eventually reached his peak performance for the majority of the season.
He participated in 52 regular season games and averaged 23.8 points per game by the end of the campaign. Regretfully, after sustaining a torn meniscus in Game 1 of the Clippers’ series against the Suns, his season was unfortunately disrupted once more in the playoffs. He scored 31 points in Game 2 despite his injuries, but L.A. was quickly eliminated, and he was out for Games 3–5.