Clippers fans got some bad news as Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for Thursday night’s Game 3 against the Phoenix Suns. As reported by ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, with additional info by Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard has a right knee sprain. While it’s not related to Leonard’s past ACL injury, he aggravated the injury in Game 1, and after playing Game 2, he’ll be “day-to-day” for Game 4.
Leonard aggravated knee in Game 1, played through it in Game 2 and is expected to be day-to-day ahead of Game 4 on Saturday, source tells ESPN. Injury isn't related to his previous ACL injury. https://t.co/v7mXgQLokN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 20, 2023
The No. 4 seed Suns and the No. 5 seed Clippers split the first two games of their first-round playoff series. After the Clippers squeaked out a five-point win, the Suns won Game 2 by double digits, despite Leonard’s 31-point performance.
Many took notice of the Clippers’ star player missing such a pivotal game.
Ty Lue: "Fans will finally get to see Robert Covington and Marcus Morris re-enter the rotation!"
Fans: "Sweet! How come?"
Ty Lue: "Kawhi is out."
— Unbiased NBA Fan (@nonbiasednbafan) April 20, 2023
The NBA was right all along lmao nobody is watching that game without Kawhi playing https://t.co/YUqQwqmPCj
— َ (@FeelLikeDrew) April 20, 2023
the 2 games of playoff kawhi pic.twitter.com/2VF98s77O7
— FADE (@FadeAwayMedia) April 20, 2023
Tough break for the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard. He was playing incredible and I hate seeing anyone get hurt. I believe it's now possible Paul George could potentially come back soon & Kawhi is day to day. The story lines in this series are about to get crazy! It's the playoffs 👀
— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) April 20, 2023
With Kawhi and PG out
The Russell Westbrook we need tonight pic.twitter.com/WkczJ9zVmg
— GS3 (@TheGSRealism) April 20, 2023
Kawhi Out Tonight pic.twitter.com/U8CzQSzqP5
— RPS⛈ (@RussPlzWin) April 20, 2023
The silver lining is that, at the moment, Leonard is just out for Game 3. It’s not ideal, but it’s not catastrophic. That said, this gives the Suns a monumental opportunity to capitalize and go out to a 2-1 lead while they’re in Los Angeles.
If the Suns win Game 3, the Clippers will hope to have Leonard back for Game 4 and catch up. If the Clippers pull off the win in Game 3, they’ll not only hope to have Leonard back after a few days rest, they’ll have the momentum going into the final few games.