Kawhi Leonard injury update: Clippers star to miss Game 5 against Jazz, out indefinitely with knee sprain

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The Los Angeles Clippers faced an uphill battle in their Western Conference semifinals matchups against the Utah Jazz after dropping their first two games in Salt Lake City. Now, after battling back with two wins at Staples Center to tie series at 2-2, the Clippers are dealing with even more adversity. 

Kawhi Leonard will not be in the lineup for the Clippers in Game 5 on Wednesday night, as the team announced he suffered a right knee sprain and will be out indefinitely. Leonard injured his knee after landing awkwardly on a drive to the basket during the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ Game 4 win, which forced him to come out of the game early after trying to play on it.

The injury occurred with 5:25 minutes remaining in the game, when Leonard was coming down in a fastbreak opportunity. Jazz guard Joe Ingles intentionally fouled Leonard to stop the play, but when he bumped into him Leonard was thrown off balance as he was trying to plant his foot. After the foul was called, Leonard immediately began hopping up and down on his left leg, and was bent over while standing and trying to stretch and massage out his right knee.

Here’s the play where the injury occurred:

The Clippers weren’t in the bonus yet, so after the foul on Ingles, the Clippers took the ball out and Jazz guard Bojan Bogdanovic fouled Leonard as he was going up for a mid-range jumper. Before taking his free throws — both of which he missed — Leonard was still stretching out his right knee, and after a few more possessions, he came out of the game with 4:35 left in the game.

After the game, when asked about his knee, Leonard was very short in his response, saying “It’s good, next question.” However, it’s clear the injury is more serious than Leonard let on. 

Losing Leonard for any extended period of time is a massive blow to the Clippers and their chances of advancing to the Western Conference finals to face the Phoenix Suns, who are dealing with their own issues after Chris Paul reportedly entered the league’s health and safety protocols. The All-Star forward has been spectacular for Los Angeles in this series as he is averaging 27.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in four games against the Jazz. 

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