Los Angeles Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank has acknowledged that Kawhi Leonard is facing a significant rehab process and "no one knows" the time frame for Leonard's return and whether he will play at all this season.
Leonard suffered an ACL injury during the playoffs series against the Utah Jazz. "Oh, we don't even breach that," Frank said when asked if he anticipates Leonard playing this season. "I think at this point, it's just no one knows when you're dealing with a recovery from an ACL [injury], the time frame.
"Even just to save you guys [from asking] throughout the year, is no one knows. You just attack it day by day. He has a very detailed plan with a great group, and we'll just let his body and the doctors tell us when it's the right time."
Frank didn't want to discuss whether Clippers players and staff members were fully vaccinated. "Personally, I'm a huge advocate of the vaccinations. I believe in the science and believe in the evidence as a personal viewpoint," Frank said.
"But in regard to speaking on behalf of players or staff, I'm not comfortable sharing that type of information other than personally, what my beliefs are and what we spread and what we educate everyone in the organization.
But ultimately, that's not my news to share."
Paul George thought the Clippers would have made the NBA Finals with Leonard
The Clippers managed to beat the Jazz but then lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Phoenix Suns.
"We'd be going on," George said when asked what would have happened had Leonard played in the conference finals. "This series would be a lot different. Talk about one of the best players in the league being out, yet we were inches away from getting to the next round.
"So definitely it's a 'what if' on this. Fact of the matter is we didn't do enough to win, and that's the reason we're going home." Clippers owner Steve Ballmer admitted it was "painful" to see Leonard go down with an injury.
"It was painful," Ballmer told ESPN. "Painful for Kawhi, painful for our team, painful for me and, most importantly, painful for our fans. But yeah, we gave it a go. We gave it a good go. We managed to push past Utah, even without Kawhi.
"I was proud of our guys. We were within a whisker or two of taking care of business in the Western Conference finals, even without Kawhi. We'll see when we get him back, but we basically have most of the same team back for next year. ... I remain optimistic."