Clippers’ Leonard looks ‘pretty good’ in workout

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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — Kawhi Leonard participated in a 5-on-5 workout on Friday for the first time since being sidelined with stiffness in his right knee last month.

LA Clippers coach Ty Lue said Leonard will miss his 10th consecutive game on Saturday when the Clippers face the Brooklyn Nets at Crypto.com Arena. While Lue is encouraged by Leonard’s progression to 5-on-5 work, he added that Leonard still has “a ways to go.”

“He played 5-on 5 with some of our guys, some of the players and some of the coaches,” Lue said of the 5-on-5, which was held separately before the team’s practice on Friday. “The first time he was able to get on the floor and play 5-on-5 and he looked pretty good. Still have a ways to go, but that was the first sign of positivity of him getting on the floor, playing 5-on-5.”

Leonard has been out since experiencing stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee at a morning shootaround in Oklahoma City on Oct. 25. He missed all of last season after tearing his right ACL in Game 4 of the second round against the Utah Jazz on June 14, 2021. Leonard played in two of the first three games this season, logging 21 minutes off the bench in each of his first two games.

Lue had said on Sunday that there was no timeframe for Leonard’s return and that the forward has to pass progressive steps with the medical staff before he can return.

But on Friday, Lue said Leonard is getting closer. The head coach also said that he is not sure if Leonard will come off the bench when he available again.

“Not tomorrow,” Lue said of when Leonard will be back. “But it’s gonna take a few more [workout] opportunities to get that in. Then kind of reassess him to see how he’s feeling after we go to medical and just kind of see if we check all the boxes.”

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