LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard made his return to basketball on Monday night, appearing in his first game since the 2021 Western Conference Semi-Finals. While it was just a pre-season game, this was a big step for Leonard, who has been working hard to get back. Because of this, his star teammate Paul George asked Leonard if there were any pre-game jitters. According to Leonard, he felt alright.
"PG asked me if I had the bubbles before the game, like the stomach. I'm like, 'Nah.' There might be a little wing in there floating around, but like I said, I felt the same way as if I approached any other game. I felt like I was mentally prepared," Leonard told reporters after the game.
Despite some expected rust, Leonard looked to be moving well on the court, which is the primary takeay at this stage. He and the team know that there will be a ramp up process before he is back to where he once was, but this was a good first step towards that ultimate goal.
While there would have been reason to be nervous before his first game in over a year, Leonard said he felt like it were any other game. He told Paul George that before the game, and shared that exchange with reporters after the pre-season victory.