NBA Rumor: Meyers Leonard Injury

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Spoelstra said Heat center Meyers Leonard is “feeling great.” Leonard, who started the first 49 games of the season, missed 16 games prior to the league shutdown because of a sprained left ankle. “I think you can say that in many ways that time off was really good for his body,” Spoelstra said. “It would’ve been a tight squeeze to get him ready if it was normal playoff time. But this has served his body well. He has been able to rest and then also do treatment and rehab, which was important.”

That doesn’t mean Leonard has backed off the rehab from the ankle issue that had him out for the 16 games prior to the league shutdown. “I’m feeling much, much better,” he told Heat television host Jason Jackson during the Instagram interview. “Obviously, I had an injury there right before the season was suspended. And it was bad. I think most people were aware of that. But I’m always incredibly, incredibly focused and I take a very professional approach. So I guess if there’s a silver lining for Meyers Leonard, I’ve had more time to rehab and the rehab’s been very good.”

And on Saturday, Portland moved one step closer to that goal, as power forward/center Meyers Leonard was cleared for all activities exactly six months after undergoing surgery on repair the labrum in his left shoulder. “I felt good out there,” said Leonard of his first unencumbered practice since dislocating his shoulder back in March. “That’s my first time playing live five-on-five obviously, so getting the conditioning back like I mentioned before is going to be key for me. But overall I felt pretty good, felt confident on the offensive end, defensive end, playing at the rim, rebounding the ball. Progressing as time goes on.”

Meyers Leonard ready by the start of the season?

The 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Leonard averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, which was marked by injuries. He dislocated his left shoulder in November and before having surgery in March for a torn labrum that cut short his season. Leonard, who was surrounded at Friday’s news conference with family and friends, said he’s close to getting his full range of motion back. “My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”

Leonard confirmed reports that he will be out 6-8 months and also revealed that he suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder. “I have some ligament damage, he’ll fix it up, he’s very optimistic about surgery and rehab and so am I,” Leonard said about the surgery and diagnosis from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Dr. ElAttrache concluded that it was best for Leonard to undergo surgery and while Leonard made the right decision for his health, it’s easy to wonder whether he regrets not signing an extension with the Blazers before the season began. “I have faith in what I do, on this team, in the future and what more I know I can do,” Leonard said. “Certainly it takes an immense amount of hard work. I’m going to do that. I’m going to rehab, get it done and get it out of the way and come back stronger than ever.”

And he said he didn’t have regrets about turning down the Blazers lucrative contract extension in November. Instead, his mind went to his team, and in particular to its leader, Damian Lillard. “I asked everybody to keep it under wraps,’’ Leonard said, referring to Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “I wanted to tell Dame, man to man.’’ So hours later, as the Blazers prepared to play the Clippers at the Staples Center, Leonard sat on the sideline in a khaki suit and cowboy boots and watched Lillard warm up. And as the star finished his routine and headed toward the Blazers locker room, Leonard trailed him, waiting for him to finish signing autographs.
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