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NBA Playoffs: ‘No Timetable’ for Injury-Prone Clippers Star

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard out with injury ahead of the 2024 NBA Playoffs

Although Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard has been out since Mar. 31 with knee inflammation, Clippers head coach Ty Lue is preparing “to have him on the court” next week, per ESPN reporter Ohm Youngmisuk.

‘No Timetable’ for Injury-Prone Kawhi Leonard

The Clippers face the Dallas Mavericks in the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Game 1 is scheduled for Sunday, Apr. 21.

“We just take it day by day,” Lue says of Leonard’s health status. “He’s progressing. He’s getting better. We don’t have a timetable.”

“Letting medical take over, and whatever is the best thing for Kawhi, making sure you protect him first,” Lue said. “But whatever is best for him is what we’re going to do. Not sure of the minutes yet, or how long he’ll be able to play. So we just kind of wait and take it day by day.”

Leonard hasn’t participated in the 5-on-5 portions of practice but L.A. is ramping up his rehabilitation. As it’s been nearly a month since Leonard has played, his conditioning level may be the biggest concern. Nonetheless, Leonard’s lengthy injury history suggests that he and the team have a firm idea of the regimen that he needs.

In the 2023-24 regular season, Leonard averaged 23.7 points and 2.5 stocks per game while shooting 41.7 percent from 3. In his last playoff outing, he averaged 34.5 points and 2.5 stocks per contest but was limited to just two games. Over his last five postseasons, Leonard has averaged 29.6 points and 2.6 stocks per game while shooting 39.0 percent from 3.

One of the most consistent playoff performers, the Clippers will rely heavily upon Leonard on both ends in their effort to win their first championship in franchise history. His combination of dominance and technical execution, at both ends, is a generational quality. Unfortunately, his talent is often undermined by his lack of durability.

Third Time’s the Charm?

After going 51-31 in the regular season, L.A. enters the playoffs as the West’s No. 4 seed.

It’s their best win-loss record since Leonard signed with the Clippers in 2019. Furthermore, it’s the third time that they’ve entered the NBA Playoffs with a top-four seed. The last time L.A. was the fourth seed, they reached the Western Conference Finals. There, they would face former Clippers cornerstone Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns, losing 2-4.

Perhaps the third time will be the charm for L.A.

The NBA has never completely left the Superteam Era. However, the league is still as open as it’s ever been due to the decline of the Golden State Warriors dynasty. In addition, after making it to the NBA Finals for eight straight seasons, LeBron James hasn’t been back since 2020.

If they can remain healthy, the Clippers have as high of a chance to win a championship as any team.


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