NBA News: Clippers Reveal Murky Comments On Kawhi Leonard's Playoff Availability

When Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronne Lue was asked Friday night whether or not the currently injury Kawhi Leonard will be ready to go for the playoffs, his answers were a bit murky, and not exactly definitive:

"When the playoffs start, is Kawhi going to be playing?" Lue was asked. He replied, somewhat oddly, " what we want to see." When asked what he meant by that, Lue replied "hopefully he will be playing, yessir."

"Hopefully" shouldn't inspire a ton of confidence in Clippers fans, as there have been innumerable times in recent years when they "hoped" that Kawhi would be playing in the playoffs, and it often didn't quite happen. 

Clips exec Lawrence Frank tells us what exactly is going on with Kawhi's knee. 

"With Kawhi, he’s dealing with inflammation. It’s no secret he’s had a couple surgeries to that knee. It’s not uncommon over the course of it where you deal with inflammation. With inflammation, it limits your ability to make some natural basketball moves, so he’s working his tail off, the staff is working their tail off to try to help with the inflammation."

To be fair, this was really the first mostly healthy season for Leonard since coming to LA in 2019, playing 68 games, which is actually his highest participation in the regular season since 2017, away back in his San Antonio Spurs days. 

Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season with an ACL injury, and played just 52 games last year. This season, he's back to his All-Star form, averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists with 1.6 steals. 

But if he's unable to go in the playoffs, it will be all for naught. 

Kawhi and the Clippers agreed to a 3-year, $176 million extension back in January. 

Photo: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports