Clippers' Kawhi Leonard will play in Game 2 against Mavericks

Kawhi Leonard, who has sat out the last nine games because of right knee inflammation, will play for the Clippers in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night at Arena.

Clippers coach Ty Lue was told reporters saw Leonard warming up by taking shots before the game, leading to speculation that his best player was healthy.

“Yeah, he’s playing,” Lue said.

Leonard practiced with the Clippers last week, but Lue said he didn’t participate in any contact sessions. Lue was asked if Leonard was able to do some contract work in recent practices.

“Yeah, he’s done all the necessary things he has to do to be on the floor,” Lue said. “So, he’s checked every box and the medical has done a great job of making sure he checks those boxes. And, we’ll never put a guy on the floor that’s not ready to go. So, he’s ready to go.”

Lue was asked again, does Leonard being ready include contact at practice?

“Contact tonight,” Lue said, smiling.

Lue was asked if there would be a minutes restriction for Leonard.

“We’re just going to gauge it to see how he feels and just kind of go off of feel, see how he’s feeling,” Lue said.

The Clippers have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against the Mavericks, having won Game 1 on Sunday without Leonard.

“We prepared for him in Game 1, and we prepared for him in Game 2,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said.

Leonard hasn’t played in a game since March 31 at Charlotte. He sat out the last eight regular-season games and the first playoff game.

Amir Coffey started in Leonard’s place in the opening game.

“Defensively, what he brings to the table defensively,” Lue said about what Leonard would add in Game 2. “Rebound the basketball. He could be a little rusty offensively, but he still is going to be able to make shots and be who he is. So, we’ll see when the game starts.”

Leonard averaged 23.7 points in 68 regular-season games, along with 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 52.5% shooting from the field and 41.7% from three-point range.

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