Kawhi Leonard (right knee swelling) Game 1 vs. Questionable for the Mavs

Kawhi Leonard's status for the opening round of the playoffs is uncertain.

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Los Angeles (AP) – Kawhi Leonard has been battling „very, very stubborn swelling” in his surgically repaired right knee for nearly three weeks and will be listed as the starter for the Los Angeles Clippers' playoff opener against the Dallas Mavericks.

The fourth-seeded Clippers host Luka Doncic and the fifth-seeded Mavs on Sunday.

“Progress has been made but Swelling should be continuously reduced So he can make functional basketball moves,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said Thursday. „We hope he gets there.”

Leonard missed the final eight games of the regular season and hasn't played since March 31.

He had an injection in his knee earlier this monthThe Athletic reported Thursday, citing unnamed league sources.

„We don't comment on any specific treatments,” Frank said. „He's doing the best he can and we're doing the best we can medically.”

Leonard participated in film sessions and Mavs personnel reviews, but He could not be contacted in courtFrank said.

A day after coach Tyronn Lue apologized Wednesday for his frustration with repeated questions about Leonard not being available to the media, the Clippers sent Frank to talk to reporters.

„I try to be as open as possible,” Frank said. „It's very unpredictable. If things keep getting better and better, there's a chance (he'll play).”

Leonard had his healthiest regular season in four years with the Clippers, playing 68 games. The All-Star forward averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

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„This guy lives for these moments. He prepares himself to be the best when he needs to be,” Frank said. „If he's not healthy enough to play at a certain time, he's not going to be out there. When Kawhi is healthy, he plays.

Frank said Leonard's current inflammation is unrelated to his previous medical problems On the same knee.

Last season, Leonard played in the first game of the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns before missing the final three games with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

In the 2021 playoffs, Leonard sprained his knee against Utah in the Western Conference semifinals. The Clippers defeated the Jazz to advance to the conference finals for the first time, losing to Phoenix in six games.

He missed all of the 2021-22 season after recovering from a partial ACL tear in his right knee.

In January, Leonard signed a contract extension with the Clippers that will pay him $153 million over the next three years.

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