Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 against Utah on Wednesday night with a sprained right knee and there is no timetable for his return, the team announced.
"No potential return, we’re not sure about that," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We just know we’re being optimistic and trying to wait for everything to clear up and get the testing back in the next 48 hours or so and go from there."
Leonard appeared to have injured in his right knee on a play with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 118-104 victory in Game 4 on Monday. He grabbed his knee in discomfort.
Leonard checked out of the game 45 seconds later and didn’t return. He finished with 31 points and seven rebounds.
Following the game, a reporter asked Leonard about this knee. "I'm good. Next question,” he said.
Leonard was not listed on the NBA's injury report on Tuesday evening. Lue added that Leonard also traveled to the team to Salt Lake City only to return to L.A. after the team diagnosed his injury.
"He’s a little down because he wanted to be here," Lue said. "But it’s part of the game. He understands that. He wants to be here for his teammates. We understand what’s going on right now."
If Leonard can’t play beyond Game 5, it’s a major setback for the Clippers who are trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. The series is tied at 2-2.
Leonard, who made the All-NBA first team for the third time in his career this season, is averaging 27.3 points 7.5 rebounds, four assists and 1.8 steals. while shooting 50.6% from the field against Utah.
Injuries have been and continue to have an impact on the playoffs. Utah’s Mike Conley hasn’t played in this series, the Nets are riddle with injuries and Philadelphia is trying to manage Joel Embiid’s torn lateral meniscus. The Bucks are without Donte DiVincenzo (torn ligament in his left ankle) and Atlanta lost De’Andre Hunter to a knee injury for the remainder of the playoffs.
ESPN first reported the Leonard news.
"Being optimis about the situation," Leonard said. "Our team, we understand that it’s part of the game. You lose your best player like that, it’s tough that it happened. But all season long, we’ve been having next man-up mentality."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kawhi Leonard could miss Game 5 vs. Jazz and beyond with knee injury