Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Kawhi Leonard Out Indefinitely In the NBA Playoffs
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports writer
Published June 16, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard participates in a shootaround ahead of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday Oct. 17, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

During game four of their series against the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard sustained a right knee sprain and “there is no timeline for his return.”

The Clippers worry if it is an ACL injury.

Forward Terrance Mann started for Leonard during game five of their second-round series. Mann scored 15 points and five rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks during game seven in the first round

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“[Mann] is a young player,” said Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue. “We have seen in Game seven versus Dallas that he stepped up and had a big game, wasn’t scared of the moment at all.”

Leonard tweaked his knee while on a drive to the basket after colliding with Jazz forward Joe Ingles with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter. The two-time NBA Finals MVP stayed in the game for a little while longer, but did not finish the game.

Lue mentioned during the pre-game press conference for game five that he is “being optimistic about the situation.”

“Our team, we understand that it’s part of the game. You lose your best player like that, it’s tough that it happened,” Lue said. “But all season long we have been having next man up mentality. We know it’s the playoffs, but we’re ready, the guys are geared up and we understand the task at hand.”

The Clippers have to focus on their defensive mindset moving forward without Leonard; the franchise has experience playing without him. Leonard has played 52 out of 72 games this season. Although many sources are counting the Clippers out due to Leonard’s injury, Lue is sailing above the noise and focused on getting wins.

“We want to attack the same way,” Lue said. “Of course, [Leonard is] out of the game, so we got to do a little bit more movement sets to try to keep [the Jazz] off guard and keep them off balance.”

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Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game during the 2020-2021 regular season and averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists during the Playoffs.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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