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Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard takes part in drills, won’t play Saturday

PLAYA DEL REY — Kawhi Leonard took part in five-on-five drills Friday, his first such workout since experiencing stiffness in his right knee last month. But while Leonard’s appearance on the practice court was an encouraging sign for both he and the Clippers, coach Tyronn Lue said forward still has “a ways to go.”

Lue said Leonard “looked pretty good” at the Clippers’ practice facility but will miss his 10th consecutive game when the Clippers take on the New Jersey Nets in a Saturday matinee game at Crypto.com Arena.

“It’s going to take a few more opportunities,” Lue said. “Then kind of reassess him to see how he’s feeling after we go to medical and just kind of see if we check all the boxes.”

Leonard came off the bench in two of the Clippers’ first three games this season but has been sidelined since experiencing stiffness in his knee during a shootaround Oct. 25 in Oklahoma City. He tore his ACL during the 2021 Western Conference semifinals and had surgery the following July and missed all of last season.

Lue had said there wasn’t a timetable for Leonard to come back, but his return could change the rotation, especially if he plays with the second unit as he did in his two games this season.

“We don’t know as of right now,” Lue said of whether Leonard would come off the bench. “Yeah, I’m not sure. I hope not.”

The Clippers have had several players score in double figures their past two games, a testament to their much talked-about deep roster. Paul George (25.4 ppg) leads a pack of seven players averaging in double figures, with guard Luke Kennard not far behind at 8.3 ppg.

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