Rudy Gobert Ruled out for Game 3 vs. Clippers with Knee Injury

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz is helped off the court past head coach Quin Snyder, by Boris Diaw #33 and medical staff during the first half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been ruled out of the team's Game 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune

Gobert, 24, collapsed to the floor with a knee injury just 20 seconds into the team's postseason opener against the Clippers. He missed the remainder of that game and an MRI after the game showed no structural damage, though he did suffer a hyperextension and bone contusion of the knee. 

Gobert established himself as an indispensable player for the Jazz this season, becoming the best rim-protector in the NBA. He averaged 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, but his defensive presence was where he made his greatest impact, leading the NBA with 2.6 blocks per game and defensive real plus-minus (5.99), per ESPN.

The Jazz, in turn, gave up just 96.8 points per game during the regular season, the best mark in the league.

Suffice to say, it's hard to imagine the Jazz challenging for a Western Conference title without their defensive bedrock at center. Gobert was arguably the most impactful defensive player in basketball this past season, and Utah's excellent defense was reliant on Gobert protecting the paint and swatting away shots. 

While he's sidelined, Boris Diaw, Jeff Withey and Derrick Favors are all likely to see expanded minutes.