Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George is dealing with a right hamstring tendon strain and will be re-evaluated in the next couple of days, a team source tells The Athletic. Here’s what you need to know:
- George was officially ruled out of Monday’s game against Utah with the injury.
- The 32-year-old scored 21 points in Saturday’s game versus the Spurs before being ruled out at halftime with what the team called right knee soreness.
- The injury is not believed to be a case of wear and tear, but rather a hyperextension suffered during Saturday’s game.
George is leading Los Angeles with 23.6 points per game this season and has missed just one game due to a non-COVID illness.
George entered Saturday night’s game in a funk, but showed out with 18 of L.A.’s 40 first-quarter points, his most scored in any quarter this season. He spent the first half of the second quarter in the locker room, emerging in time to make his scheduled second stint with 6:15 left to play in the first half, but after hitting one more 3, sat the final 3:26 before being ruled out at halftime.
George’s injury outlook
The first part of this injury is what George is going through. It appears that he avoided a major injury, but soft tissue ailments for a player like George always bear watching at this stage of the 13-year veteran’s career. George may wind up missing about a week with this injury, and the Clippers are playing more challenging opponents than they have seen the last couple of weeks. Those Rockets and Spurs games are turning into Warriors and Trail Blazers games. — Murray
Impact on Kawhi
The next part is Kawhi Leonard, who just returned to the lineup Thursday after a multi-week absence to address stiffness in his surgically-repaired right knee. Leonard has eased back into the starting lineup, but with George out, the Clippers need Leonard to do more. Whether Leonard is capable of a higher usage role remains to be seen. — Murray
Who will step up?
Finally, the rotation that Tyronn Lue has struggled to get a week of consistency of takes another turn. Expect Terance Mann to step up as a starter while George is out. And with Luke Kennard also dealing with a calf strain that needs to be evaluated this week, the team has another rotation spot or two that needs to be filled. That could be Robert Covington, who is out of the rotation for now due to the numbers game.
That could be Amir Coffey, who replaced George last year when George was out for three months. That could be Moses Brown, the team’s 7-foot-2 two-way contract center who has gotten more opportunities lately against the bigger NBA teams. — Murray
(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today)