Los Angeles Clippers Face Brutal Russell Westbrook Injury Update

Russell Westbrook, Clippers, NBA
Mar 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) passes the ball as he is defended by Washington Wizards forward Corey Kispert (24) and guard Johnny Davis (1) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

One of the reasons that the Los Angeles Clippers have found so much success during the 2023-24 NBA regular season has been their ability to remain healthy. After having key players in and out of the lineup with regularity the last few seasons, the Clippers have remained whole, for the most part, this season.

But, their depth will be tested for the foreseeable future in the backcourt. Point guard Russell Westbrook, who has provided the team’s second unit with stability and excellent two-way production, is going to be out of action.

He suffered a fractured hand playing against one of his former teams, the Washington Wizards, on Friday night during the Clippers’ 140-115 victory. The injury is still being evaluated, but Los Angeles is expected to be without Westbrook for at least a few weeks.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, Tyronn Lue, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

“Just feel bad for Russ right now,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “You never want to see a player get hurt. Washington’s [Jordan] Poole drove around, and he tried to deflect it from the back. I think he hit his elbow with his hand.

“So we don’t know what timetable, don’t know if he needs surgery or anything yet. But he’s out right now. So just trying to figure it out.”

This is the second time in his career that Westbrook has suffered a fractured hand. The first time, in Game 2 of the 2014-15 season, Westbrook ended up missing 14 games, sidelined for about four weeks total after undergoing surgery.

Replacing Westbrook in the lineup will not be an easy task for the Clippers. Beyond the box score, there is a lot that he brings to the team on the court. One of those attributes, in the opinion of James Harden, is his athleticism.

“His athleticism,” Harden explained when asked what Los Angeles will miss with Westbrook sidelined. “His energy. His playmaking ability. His leadership.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, Tyronn Lue, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

Lue echoed the sentiments shared by Harden. Despite not being able to play on the court, Lue is expecting Westbrook to remain an integral part of the team.

“He’s going to stay engaged regardless,” Lue said of Westbrook, who is one of the team’s vocal leaders. “That’s just who he is. And so we need him around, we need his energy, we need him talking, the way he leads.

“Until he is able to get back, we’re going to miss him. So hopefully it’s a speedy recovery and we get him back sooner than later, but I’m not sure [of] the timetable right now.”

Currently, in fourth place in the Western Conference, the Clippers have their work cut out for them without Westbrook. They are 2.5 games behind the first-place Oklahoma City Thunder and five games clear of the seventh-place Phoenix Suns, who hold the top spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

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