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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Kawhi Leonard injury update: Clippers star out vs. Mavericks in Game 4 with knee inflammation

SportsKawhi Leonard injury update: Clippers star out vs. Mavericks in Game 4 with knee inflammation


Clippers president Lawrence Frank spoke to reporters ahead of  L.A.’s Game 4 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday afternoon, and he relayed that Kawhi Leonard will miss the game with knee inflammation. Frank said there is no timetable for Leonard’s return, meaning he’ll be out indefinitely. This is a significant blow to the Clippers, who could potentially be without their franchise star for the remainder of this series and already find themselves in a 2-1 series hole against a Mavericks team that has a ton of momentum heading into Sunday’s game.

“He’s not playing today. He wants to play, but it was obvious in Game 3 that his mobility was severely restricted,” Frank said. “So organizationally, we just made a decision, he’s out. The obvious question I know is coming so I’ll beat you to it, when is he coming back? Can’t tell you a timeline, I wish I had a crystal ball, it will just basically — until he can show that he can make all the movements that he needs to make, that’s when he’ll come back. That will be the timeframe.”

Leonard was listed as questionable ahead of Game 4 after a performance in Game 3 that showed he wasn’t exactly 100%. Leonard looked rather stiff in the two games he’s played in this series, and his production reflected that, averaging just 12 points. Leonard had missed the last eight games of the regular season with knee inflammation and was held out of Game 1 of this series for the same reason. But after the extended time away he tried to give it a go in Game 2 and 3, but it was clear he wasn’t fully healthy out there on the floor. 

It’ll be an uphill battle for the Clippers without Leonard, though the silver lining is that in the one game this team did play without him, they managed to blow out the Mavericks. That was thanks to James Harden, Paul George and Ivica Zubac all scoring at least 20 points and holding Dallas to under 100 points in the game. Perhaps they can go back to that game plan for Game 4, but this team is obviously always in a better position when Leonard is on the floor.

This is such a tough blow for Leonard, who when healthy was playing at an MVP level. Prior to the knee inflammation to end the season he played in 68 games, the most he’s played in a regular season since the 2016-17 season. But it appears as though the injuries are creeping up again with him, which puts a damper on things for a Clippers team that constantly has championship aspirations but always gets undercut by injuries.

There’s obviously a chance that Leonard could return at some point this postseason, but for now, the Clippers will have to gameplan without him. That means George and Harden will need to step up, as well as guys like Terance Mann and Norman Powell





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