LOS ANGELES (AP)Kawhi Leonard is returning and starting for the first time this season against the Detroit Pistons.

He has missed 12 straight games since coming off the bench in two of the first three games to begin the season. Leonard had been dealing with stiffness in his right knee, which was surgically repaired in July 2021. He missed all of last season while rehabbing.

He is averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds this season. The Clippers have gone 8-7 in Leonard’s absence.

”It’s going to take Kawhi a little time to get back to the player we know,” coach Tyronn Lue said.

Paul George also will start against the Pistons despite a left hand contusion.

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