How much longer will the Clippers be without the services of their best player? That’s the big question for Los Angeles, which heads into Friday night’s Game 6 against Utah needing a win in order to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
Kawhi Leonard suffered a knee injury in Game 4 and wasn’t available for Game 5, but LA managed to capture a road win and 3-2 series lead behind a stellar performance from Paul George (37 points, 16 rebounds, five assists). If the Clippers want to win the 2021 NBA championship, though, they will almost certainly need Leonard to return, even if he isn’t operating at full strength.
Here are the latest updates on Leonard ahead of Game 6.
Will Kawhi Leonard play vs. Jazz?
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters on Thursday that Leonard is out for Game 6. Lue didn’t offer any details on Leonard’s status for the rest of the NBA playoffs.
During the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ Game 4 victory, Leonard came up limping after a drive toward the basket. He ended up sitting the last four-plus minutes of that contest, but in his postgame interview with TNT’s Rebecca Haarlow, he said, “I’ll be good.”
Unfortunately for Leonard, the knee issue ended up being more serious than he thought. The Clippers have referred to the injury as a right knee sprain, but the team fears that he may have suffered an ACL injury, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Through 11 postseason games, Leonard is averaging 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent on 3-pointers.
Jazz vs. Clippers Game 6 injury report
(Current as of 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday; Clippers have not yet submitted an official injury report)
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