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Sources: Kawhi Leonard could return this season; ACL rehab ahead of schedule

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PHOENIX — Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn right ACL and a return to action this season is within reach, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes as he relayed on TNT Thursday night.

Leonard has amped up his workload in recent weeks and is looking stronger and stronger, sources said.

Heading into Thursday's game against the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers are 19-19, positioned eighth in the Western Conference standings. Multiple players told Yahoo Sports they’re unconcerned about playoff positioning if the team is fully healthy, believing they can take down any team.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals last season.

Kawhi Leonard tore ACL in 2021 NBA playoffs

Leonard suffered the ACL tear during the Clippers' 2020-21 Western Conference semifinals series against the Utah Jazz. 

He missed the final eight games of the season with what the Clippers called a "sprain." The Clippers later announced Leonard suffered a partially torn right ACL. He underwent surgery in July.

Leonard signed a four-year, $176.3 million deal with the Clippers this offseason.

The Clippers are currently also without Paul George, who has a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers sits on the bench during a game this season.
Kawhi Leonard is ahead of schedule in his ACL rehab and could return to the Los Angeles Clippers this season. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)