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Injured Los Angeles Clippers Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard are healing well as the NBA Playoffs approach, signaling a potential return for the two.
As the Los Angeles Clippers face off against the Phoenix Suns in a regular season preview of the playoffs, Clippers small forward Robert Covington made sure to remind everyone that the Clippers are that good without two of their best players.
Once the Clippers get back Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard, “it’s gonna be scary,” according to Covington.
The Clippers boast a 39-40 record, which looks more impressive upon realizing that the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference has done this without most of their key players. Paul George spent most of 2022 on the bench, recovering from a torn UCL in his right elbow. George returned to the court on March 29 in a close 121-115 victory over the Utah Jazz, scoring 34 points in his first game in three months.
“Paul George’s return jolted the Los Angeles Clippers back to life,” reads an ESPN game summary—and that’s all while Powell and Leonard remained injured.
Powell went down in mid-February with a fractured toe bone, but according to the Los Angeles Times, good news is on the horizon for Clippers fans. Coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that Powell practiced without limitations on April 5. It’s a promising development as the Clippers advance toward an expected No. 8 seed in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, which kick off on April 16.
But that wasn’t even the best part of that April 5 practice. According to the Times’ Andrew Greif, it was “the sight of Kawhi Leonard shooting free throws, midrange shots and working his way around the three-point arc firing attempts before practice started during a portion of time when reporters were allowed to watch.”
Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard could be back on the Clippers by playoffs
As Clippers fans are painfully aware, Leonard has been out of the lineup since last year’s playoff run, when Leonard injured his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round playoff series versus the Jazz. Nine months later, Leonard appears to be close to full form, although Greif reported that he wasn’t moving at full game speed during his 30-minute workout.
Still, the Clippers have managed to find their way to the postseason again despite the injury scares, which makes Covington’s expectation of a “scary” playoff lineup all the more enticing.