Kawhi Leonard’s status for start of playoffs seems anything but certain

Kawhi Leonard continues battling knee inflammation; his status for playoffs is still unclear.
Los Angeles Clippers v Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Clippers v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Kawhi Leonard has not played in a Los Angeles Clippers game since March 31 due to ongoing knee soreness. The Clippers earned home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs and locked in the 4th seed. But they may have to be without their leading scorer for those first couple of games.

Following the loss to the Utah Jazz Friday night, reporters asked Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue about Leonard's status. His response was not very hopeful for fans.

Clippers president Lawrence Frank also added more details during the game Friday night.

"With Kawhi, he's dealing with inflammation," Frank said on the broadcast. "It's no secret he's had a couple of surgeries to that knee. It's not uncommon over the course of it where you deal with inflammation. With inflammation, it limits your ability to make some natural basketball moves, so he's working his tail off, the staff is working their tail off to try to help with the inflammation."

Kawhi Leonard uncertain for Clippers playoff run amid knee injury

Prior to his injury in March, Leonard was in a groove. He averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on 51% shooting from the field. His loss on the floor impacts the team, even though they have won seven out of their last nine games without him. But it will be challenging in the playoffs as they are locked to play against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.

Leonard had also been healthy this season; he had only sat out six games before this injury. In 68 games, Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.

Along with Leonard, the Clippers also had the return of James Harden Friday night after sitting out two games because of right foot inflammation. He only played 10 minutes due to the injury. Paul George also saw the floor a little, as did other starters like Ivica Zubac and Terance Mann. Looks like Lue is prioritizing his team's health as the regular season comes down.

The Clippers facing the dynamic backcourt of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will present a big challenge for the team. It would be helpful if they had their leading scorer, Kawhi Leonard, on the floor with them to advance to the second round.

But from how Lue and Franke spoke, it may not be so hopeful.

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