LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers may be without All-Star Paul George for the start of the postseason.
The team announced Wednesday that George has a sprained right knee and will be evaluated in two to three weeks.
The Clippers started the day in fifth place in the Western Conference with a score of 38-35. They finish the regular season on April 9 at Phoenix, a team they could face in the first round of the playoffs, which begin six days later.
Even if George recovers before the playoffs open, it will take time for him to return to action after not seeing action for several weeks.
George was injured late in Tuesday night’s 101-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. His knee made contact with the Thunder’s Luguentz Dort, who was going for a jumper with 4:38 left.
George needed help to leave the field, he appeared unable to put weight on his right leg, and when he entered the tunnel he was carried to the dressing room. He later left the arena on a wheelchair with his right leg outstretched.
“I appreciate you all,” George tweeted on Wednesday.
Losing George for any length of time would be a huge blow to the Clippers. He is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for a team with championship aspirations.
The Clippers did not practice on Wednesday.
Asked Tuesday night how the team would adjust without George, Kawhi Leonard said: “Next man up. We have a group of guys that still want to win and love to play basketball, so we’ll see what happens.”
32-year-old George has been absent from his career for a long time due to serious injuries.
He sprained his right elbow in December 2021. A few weeks later, the Clippers said he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He was out for three months and returned to play the last few weeks of the season.
George had two surgeries on his right and left shoulders in the spring of 2019 while in Oklahoma City. A few months later, he was traded to the Clippers and missed the first 11 games of the 2019-20 season while recovering.
Leonard suffered a partial ACL tear in his right knee during the 2021 Western Conference semifinals and did not return. The Clippers rebounded to reach the conference finals for the first time in franchise history before losing to Phoenix in six games.
Leonard missed the entire 2022 season while recovering from an ACL injury. Without him, the Clippers were 42-40 and lost in the tournament game.
He’s been mostly healthy this season, though the team regularly gives Leonard games to rest as part of his workload management.
The Clippers are already without reserve Norman Powell, whose shoulder injury could keep him out until at least next week.
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