An all-new knee injury for Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard may be a fatal blow to the team’s chances of advancing in the NBA Playoffs.
The Los Angeles Clippers matchup with the Phoenix Suns is one of the marquee series in the first round of this year’s postseason. It features a plethora of megastar players and veterans that are battle-tested in the playoffs. There are also several interesting narratives surrounding the best-of-seven series.
One of them is if the Los Angeles Clippers can overcome playing without Paul George and upset the star-studded Phoenix Suns squad. Those chances took a major hit on Thursday with a surprise revelation of a new injury for Kawhi Leonard.
ESPN NBA reporter Ohm Youngmisuk broke the news that five-time All-Star has a sprain in his right knee. “He aggravated his knee in Game 1, played through it in Game 2, and is expected to be day-to-day ahead of Game 4,” a follow-up report from fellow insider Adrian Wojnarowski added.
Kawhi Leonard entered the 2022-2023 season after missing all of last season when he tore the ACL ligament in his right leg during the 2020-2021 playoffs. This type of injury could take several weeks to heal, and considering his previous knee issues, that could be a conservative estimate.
What Kawhi Leonard injury means for Los Angeles Clippers playoff hopes
It is hard to imagine the Los Angeles Clippers winning any more games in this first-round series against the Suns. The team surprised some NBA observers by winning Game 1, and that was helped by an outstanding performance from Kawhi Leonard where he impacted the game on both sides of the ball and posted 38 points.
- Kawhi Leonard stats (’22-’23): 23.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 42% 3PT
It was always going to be difficult to beat a Suns team deep with elite talents like Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, but there was always a chance because of the deep roster Los Angeles has. However, when you take away their top two players — both will likely be out for the entire series at best — the Clippers won’t have enough to beat Phoenix.
This latest injury in the playoff continues a bad trend for the team and Leonard where his contract is turning into one of the most frustrating in franchise history.