Kawhi Leonard’s Game 1 Status Uncertain As Clippers Prepare For Mavs

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, NBA

As the Los Angeles Clippers gear up for their NBA playoff opener against the Dallas Mavericks, the availability of All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard remains uncertain.

Officially listed as questionable, Leonard has been sidelined since March 31 due to persistent inflammation in his right knee, casting doubt on his participation in Sunday’s Game 1.

Clippers coach Ty Lue shared that Leonard did not participate in contact drills during Saturday’s final practice session. “He shot yesterday; he was on the floor,” Lue noted. “Today, he’s going to shoot a bit more and move a little more. He’ll partake in some of today’s practice as well.”

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks Updates

When asked about the possibility of playing without Leonard, Lue maintained that it was still uncertain whether Leonard would be sidelined for the game.

The Clippers have been plagued by injury woes in past playoffs, notably last year when Paul George missed the first round and Leonard was out after the first two games due to a knee injury, resulting in a 4-1 series loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Paul George, Leonard’s fellow All-Star, commented on the team’s misfortune with injuries, stating, “From the injury standpoint, we’ve just been unlucky. But we are focused on the positive and believe that at some point he’ll be with us.”

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Leonard missed the last eight games of the regular season, and if he misses Sunday’s game, it will mark three weeks since his last appearance.

Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations, reassured that Leonard’s surgically repaired ACL and meniscus are stable but described the inflammation as “stubborn” and “unpredictable.”

Coach Lue has a contingency plan in place should Leonard be unavailable for Game 1. He reflected on the team’s performance during Leonard’s recent absence, noting their balanced record of 4-4 in April, which included key victories over teams like the Denver Nuggets and the Suns that helped secure the Western Conference’s fourth seed.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks Updates

George praised Leonard’s commitment and efforts to return, saying, “This is Kawhi. He wants to be in this more than anybody. He’s working hard, doing everything he can to be available. We all see the work he’s putting in. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”

As the Clippers prepare for the playoff battle against the Mavericks, all eyes are on Leonard’s recovery and potential impact on the court.

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