LA Clippers center Serge Ibaka recently gave an update on the lower back injury that has kept him out of commission for the past 26 games.
Though it was a bit vague, Ibaka gave an optimistic response to an Instagram user who asked how his back is doing.
Just as this comment failed to go into any specifics, the Clippers organization has been hesitant to give any details about the injury. When Ibaka’s name predictably appears on the Clippers’ Public Relations Twitter feed before every game, the reason is deemed “lower back tightness.” A Google search of “lower back tightness injury” would claim that a lumbar strain is the most common cause of back stiffness, but it would be pointless to play armchair physician.
Head Coach Tyronn Lue has stated repeatedly that there is no timetable for Ibaka’s return. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he misses the last six games of the regular season, and potentially the beginning of the postseason.
Ibaka brings a defensive versatility that the Clippers will need if they hope to make a deep playoff run. While Ivica Zubac has been great as LA’s starting center in Ibaka’s stead, he averages 4.2 fouls per 36 minutes, and Patrick Patterson or DeMarcus Cousins are not going to cut it defensively in the postseason as backup centers. Even if Zubac remains the starting five-man, Ibaka gives the Clippers another reliable option should Zubac find himself in foul trouble.
The Clippers have already confirmed that Ibaka will miss Thursday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, which tips off at 7 p.m.