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Clippers News: ‘Increasing’ Doubt About LA Star’s Availability to Start Postseason

by News7

The Los Angeles Clippers may be without their superstar forward, Kawhi Leonard, to start the first round of their playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks and possibly beyond.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported there is ‘increasing doubt’ that Leonard may not start the series, which begins on Sunday.

Leonard has been out since the beginning of April with inflammation in his right knee, which has been surgically repaired in the past. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue says the six-time All-Star has been doing shooting drills and will shoot more on Saturday. However, he has yet to do any contract drills or practice since the knee issues flared up.

On Sunday, the Clippers will open up their highly anticipated series against the Mavericks in their home arena, Crypto.com Arena. According to Fan Duel Sportsbook, the lower seed Mavs are favored to win the series at -134. The Clippers have +110 odds to win the series over Dallas. That number may increase, especially if Leonard isn’t going to be back.

Paul George #13, James Harden #1 and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers watch play from the bench during a 110-109 loss to the Utah Jazz at Crypto.com Arena on April 12, 2024 in…

Harry How/getty Images
If Los Angeles is missing their superstar player, someone will need to replace his 23.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the four-seed Clippers. Leonard is coming off his healthiest season to date. The 32-year-old played 68 games this year, the most since the 2016-2017 season with the San Antonio Spurs. He also earned another All-Star bid and will likely join another All-NBA team, which would be his sixth in his career.

Even without Leonard, the Clippers have been able to keep their head above water to close out the regular season. In eight games without their superstar, they went 4-4, including wins over the Denver Nuggets, a 26-point comeback over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a win over the Phoneix Suns. ESPN NBA reporter Ohm Youngmisuk spoke to coach Lue and cited these facts to explain why he still has confidence in his team.

Clippers went 4-4 in April without Kawhi Leonard. During that stretch, they beat Denver, came back from 26 down to beat Cleveland and won at Phoenix — all wins Ty Lue cited as big when he was asked if they have to play without Kawhi to start the playoffs.

— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) April 20, 2024
Leonard’s time with the Clippers has been shortcoming after shortcomings, most of them due to the injuries he’s sustained. In 2021, Kawhi tore his ACL in his right knee. That injury cost him the entire year that came to follow. Then, in last year’s first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, he tore his meniscus in that same knee. His right knee has been through hell and back, and hopefully, for the team’s sake, he will be fine to give his all for his squad.

It’s not a guarantee, as we’ve seen from Leonard in the past; however, their time in the playoffs will likely be limited without him.

Uncommon KnowledgeNewsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Source : Newsweek

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