Kawhi Leonard participated in full-contact portions of practice for the first time as a Clipper on Wednesday, the team’s third day of training camp, but is remaining careful about his workload.
“Everything is going great right now,” Leonard said. “I just don’t want to push it over the top or go on an uphill incline right now with this being my first three days.”
Coach Doc Rivers agreed the forward looked “great” while taking part in half of the team’s live drills during an early afternoon practice at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center.
What that means for the timing of Leonard’s season debut is uncertain. Asked whether he has an anticipation for when he might take part in a full practice or game, he said he was “taking it day by day and just working things out.” “It’s pretty much right now just trying to judge,” he said. “We all know what we’re trying to do at the end of the year, what the expectations are for ourselves.”
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Leonard finished last season with the second NBA championship of his career but also did not perform fully healthy during stretches of the NBA Finals. After signing with the Clippers as a free agent in July, he took part in some, but not all, of the team’s offseason workouts and was limited to noncontact drills during the first two days of practice.
The status of Leonard’s All-Star teammate, Paul George, who is recovering from surgeries to each of his shoulders, has not altered.
George continues to be limited to noncontact drill work. While Leonard and George have watched much of training camp from the sidelines, rookie Terance Mann and second-year guard Landry Shamet have stunned on the court as ballhandlers.
The team does not have a pure point guard on its roster, a need that might not be drastic considering how much of the offense figures to eventually flow through Leonard and George. But both Shamet and Mann have played the position and are expected to fill the role of distributor at times.