LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers may be without All-Star Paul George to start the postseason.
The team said Wednesday that George has a sprained right knee and he will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.
The Clippers began the day in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 38-35 record. They end the regular season on April 9 at Phoenix, a team they could meet in the first round of the playoffs, which begin six days later.
Even if George recovers before the playoff opener, he’ll need time to get back in the swing after not seeing game action for a couple of weeks.
George got hurt after going down hard late in a 101-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. His knee made contact with the Thunder’s Luguentz Dort, who was going for a rebound with 4:38 remaining.
George needed help to leave the court, appearing unable to put any weight on his right leg, and once inside the tunnel he was carried to the locker room. He later left the arena on a cart with his right leg extended.
“Appreciate y’all,” George tweeted Wednesday.
Losing George for any length of time would be a major blow to the Clippers. He is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for a team that has championship aspirations.
The Clippers did not practice Wednesday.
Asked Tuesday night how the team would adjust without George, Kawhi Leonard said: “Next man up. We’ve got a group of guys that still want to win and like to play basketball, so we’ll see what happens.”
The 32-year-old George has been out for extended periods of time in his career because of major injuries.
He sprained his right elbow in December 2021. A couple of weeks later, the Clippers said he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He was out for three months and returned to play the final few weeks of the season.
George had twin surgeries in his right and left shoulders in spring 2019 while with Oklahoma City. A few months later, he was traded to the Clippers and missed the first 11 games of the 2019-20 season while recovering.
Leonard suffered a partial ACL tear in his right knee during the 2021 Western Conference semifinals and didn’t return. The Clippers recovered and advanced to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history before losing to Phoenix in six games.
Leonard missed all of the 2022 season while recovering from the ACL injury. Without him, the Clippers went 42-40 and lost in the play-in tournament.
He has been mostly healthy this season, although the team regularly gives Leonard games off to rest as part of his load management.
The Clippers already are without reserve Norman Powell, whose shoulder injury could keep him out at least until next week.
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