Kawhi Leonard Clippers Oct 9, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Clippers opening their regular season on Thursday against their in-town rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, star forward Kawhi Leonard is getting back into NBA action for the first time in more than a year.

Leonard did not play for the entirety of the 2021-22 season while rehabbing from a torn ACL, and the team appears to be taking a cautious approach with the two-time NBA Champion to begin the year.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue revealed before the game that Leonard will come off the bench in Thursday’s contest against the Lakers.

This isn’t exactly all the surprising considering how much Leonard means to the Clippers’ chances of making a deep postseason run this year.

While many are disappointed to hear that Leonard may be limited, most agree that this is the right decision coming from Los Angeles.

Despite the decision, Leonard appears to be fully recovered from the ACL injury. This decision likely is due to the lack of NBA action that the star forward has had due to his injury.

Leonard has not played in an NBA game since June of 2021, so easing him into NBA action is certainly the right approach.

According to Caesar’s Sportsbook via CBS Sports, the Clippers currently have the third-best odds to win the NBA Championship this season, only behind the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors.

Kawhi Leonard will the instrumental in leading the Clippers this year, and Los Angeles clearly sees the bigger picture when it comes to his long-term health this year.

[Shams Charania]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.