Report: Clippers' Kawhi Leonard out Indefinitely with Knee Injury; ACL Damage Feared

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 16, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket in the second half during Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Dallas, Friday, June 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will reportedly be out indefinitely after suffering a sprained knee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Charania added the Clippers fear Leonard has suffered an ACL injury.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst first reported the injury, adding that Leonard suffered the injury in L.A.'s Game 4 win.

Windhorst added that Leonard told his teammates Tuesday to "prepare for him to be out."

Leonard, 29, is arguably the most irreplaceable member of the Clippers roster, providing elite defense and even more thrilling offense while creating mismatches on both ends of the floor.

After averaging 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists over the course of the regular season, he's posting 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game in the playoffs, which has helped Los Angeles into a 2-2 series tie with the top-seeded Jazz.

Los Angeles fell behind 2-0 in the series after beating the Dallas Mavericks in seven games in the first round, but Kawhi took over with 34 points in Game 3 and 31 points in Game 4 against Utah.

While Leonard played down any concerns after injuring his knee in Game 4, Windhorst's report suggests the injury is worse than initially thought.

Without Leonard available, Los Angeles' ability to get past the Jazz does take a major hit.

Look for head coach Ty Lue to rely more on Paul George, Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Amir Coffey and Marcus Morris.

Much of the offensive burden will fall on the shoulders of George, who is the team's No. 2 scoring option and is averaging 24.9 points per game during the playoffs.

While George is capable of raising his level of play and carrying the Clippers, beating a Jazz team led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert without their top player in Leonard will be a tall task for L.A.