Ailing Kawhi Leonard misses Clippers' Game 1 win over Mavs

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Sunday, April 21, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonardfor Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, a 109-97 win Arena.

Leonard missed his ninth straight game with inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.His status for Tuesday's Game 2 remains uncertain, coach Ty Lue said before the game.

He hasn't played since March 31, and has yet to participate in any contact during practice.

Leonard has done more shooting with movement in recent practices, according to Lue. There is a day off between Game 1 and Game 2. But after Game 2, both teams don't play again until Friday's Game 3 in Dallas.

"I'm not sure," Lue said when asked whether this could be a multiple-game absence for Leonard in the first round. "He's progressing. He's been on the floor the last couple days. We're just taking it day by day."

Clippers president of basketball operationsLawrence Frank said Leonard's surgically repaired right ACL and right meniscus are solid and structurally in place. But Frank characterized the inflammation as "stubborn" and "unpredictable."

"It's tough for him, but he's getting better," Lue said. "But he's frustrated, as he should be."

Leonard played in Games 1 and 2 before missing the final three games of last year's first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns because of a torn meniscus.

Paul George said it has been frustrating having to deal with injuries in yet another postseason for himself and Leonard. George did not play against Phoenix in the first round last year because of injury.

The franchise has had just one entire postseason run (2020) with both Leonard and George healthy.

"I think from the injury standpoint, we've just been unlucky," George said. "But [we are] more so focused on [the] positive and do think at some point he'll be with us."

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