Though there was little hope to begin with, LA Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue confirmed on Thursday during his media availability that All-Star Kawhi Leonard will not be playing in Game 6 of LA’s Second Round series vs. the Utah Jazz.
“He’s out,” Lue said simply.
Leonard suffered some sort of knee injury during Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals when he collided with Jazz forward Joe Ingles. He played on the injury for about a minute before being subbed out. After the game, both Leonard and Lue spoke as though the injury was of little concern.
“I’ll be good,” Leonard said postgame to TNT.
The next day, Leonard was not listed on the team’s injury report, seemingly confirming that the injury was nothing to fuss about. However, on Wednesday morning, prior to Game 5, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reported that Leonard would miss Game 5 due to the injury. Soon after, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Clippers “fear” Leonard suffered “an ACL injury.” The team’s official statement about the injury deemed it as a “right knee strain.”
The wording is vague all around, and it seems as though no one is quite sure about the severity of the injury.
Regardless, LA will once again be without their best player. They were able to overcome the Jazz in Game 5 thanks to a superhuman performance from Paul George (37 points, 16 rebounds). Now, they have a chance to close the series out at Staples Center. Game 6 tips off on Friday at 7 p.m.