Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George has avoided tearing ligaments in his sprained right knee and is not expected to require surgery.
While George will miss the remainder of the regular season and won’t be reevaluated for two to three weeks, the Clippers breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t suffer a more serious injury when he landed awkwardly after hitting a knee with Oklahoma City. If City rotated in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 101-100 loss to the Thunder.
“It’s a bit disappointing, as expected,” team coach Tai Lo said before the Clippers faced the Thunder again Thursday night. “But I think we’ve got the best-case scenario as far as we thought it could be. And so a reassessment in two or three weeks is something we’re looking forward to.”
George will need to let his knee heal before it can be re-evaluated. Once he feels his knee is strong enough, he’ll need time to ramp up if he’s able to make a comeback this postseason. The Clippers entered Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma City in fifth place in the Western Conference standings. However, they were also just a game and a half out of seventh place and the playing cycle.
If the Clippers clinch a playoff game, George’s potential first-round comeback is optimistic.
“His spirits plummeted,” Lu said. “But that’s to be expected when it’s late in the season and when you want to help your team. But we’ll support it 100%.”
Law said the Clippers will start guard Eric Gordon in George’s place for the rest of the season.
And once again, the Clippers will have to try to win without one of their stars at the most important time of the season. Kawhi Leonard tore his right ACL in Game 4 of Round 2 against Utah in the 2021 playoffs. The Clippers went on to reach the Western Conference Finals before losing to Phoenix.
Last season, with Leonard out all year, George had to sit out the second game, a loss for New Orleans, because he tested positive for COVID-19. This came after George returned from a three-month absence due to a torn ligament in his elbow.
“Oh, we’re ready,” he told me of the Clippers playing without a superstar. “We did that last year too. He played 32 games last year, so next-man mentality. I know you hear it all the time, but we’re definitely up for the challenge. And we’ve got a lot of players in this dressing room and we’re excited about the challenge.”
“Devoted travel trailblazer. Freelance beer scholar. Passionate analyst. Hardcore twitter fanatic.”