Leonard has been nursing a knee injury since late in Game 4 against the Utah Jazz. The team won two games without him to advance past the top-seed and clinch a spot against the Suns, for a chance to head to the NBA Finals.
Earlier today, NBA insider Chris Haynes reported that Leonard will not travel with the team to Phoenix. He’s clearly out for tomorrow’s Game 1, but Lue won’t commit to him definitely missing the second game of the series.
His return would give the Clippers a massive lift, though the team has really risen to the occasion without him. The team finished off the Jazz in Game 6 at the Staples Center 131-119, with 28 points from Paul George, 27 from Reggie Jackson, and a shocking 39 points by Terance Mann.
Ty on whether there's a window for Kawhi's return: "I know Game 1 for sure … not sure Game 2 yet."
— Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) June 20, 2021
Kawhi Leonard, who has won NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, was sensational again this year, averaging 24.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He’s raised his play in the playoffs, to 30.4 points and 7.7 boards per game, playing an average of 39.3 minutes per night.
The Phoenix Suns won’t be at full health either. Chris Paul, the team’s incredible veteran point guard, entered COVID-19 protocols after the team’s four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets. He’ll miss Game 1, and his status is unclear after that.
Game 1 between the Suns and Clippers tips off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.