Paul George suffered a scary knee hyperextension while going for a rebound against Lu Dortz recently and the LA Clippers feared the worst after he had to get helped off the court. Considering his previous history with injuries, it was fair to worry.
Fortunately for the Clippers, the best case scenario happened after tests confirmed no serious damage and he was diagnosed with a knee sprain instead of something far worse.
While that was certainly great news, it still remains to be seen whether or not George can now help the Clippers this campaign. He is certainly likely to miss the rest of the regular season which ends in less than three weeks, and so the more realistic timetable for him to return is the first round of the playoffs, which start on April 15. That is unless the Clippers are forced into the play-ins, which start on April 9.
George has been a solid star for the Clippers this season, averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 56 games played so far. That kind of production is hard to replace, which could be an issue for a Clippers team that relies on another oft-injured star in Kawhi Leonard for success.
Leonard, who has played in 44 games this season, is putting up 23.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals. While he’s been playing more as they ramp up for the postseason, having to shoulder a heavier load on offense and defense could have adverse effects on him.
At 38-35, the Clippers are still in the guaranteed playoff spots in the Western Conference, but have a tough schedule remaining against mostly teams that are still fighting for postseason positioning:
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- New Orleans Pelicans (twice)
- Chicago Bulls
- Memphis Grizzlies (twice)
- LA Lakers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Phoenix Suns
Dropping even half of their remaining games could push the Clippers into the play-ins, and they were eliminated in that tournament last year by the Pelicans. Things will be tense in Clipperland until then, and we’ll have to wait and see if they can survive.