Clippers' Playoff Hopes Rest on Paul George's Recovery from Knee Injury

LA Clippers luminary Paul George narrowly escaped sustaining torn ligaments in his sprained right knee, a fortunate turn of events which means surgery will not be necessary.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Clippers' Playoff Hopes Rest on Paul George's Recovery from Knee Injury

LA Clippers luminary Paul George narrowly escaped sustaining torn ligaments in his sprained right knee, a fortunate turn of events which means surgery will not be necessary. The Clippers organization breathed a collective sigh of relief, as George's injury could have been far more severe after an awkward landing following a knee-to-knee collision with Oklahoma City's Lu Dort during the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 101-100 loss to the Thunder.

"He's a little disappointed, as expected," coach Ty Lue remarked before the Clippers trounced the Thunder 127-105 in a rematch Thursday night. "But I think we got the best case scenario as far as what we thought it could be.

And so, being reevaluated in two, three weeks is something that we are looking forward to."

Road to Recovery and Playoff Implications

Although George will miss the remainder of the regular season, he will undergo a reevaluation in two to three weeks after allowing his knee to heal.

Upon feeling that his knee has regained sufficient strength, he will need additional time to ramp up his performance if he is to return during this postseason. Currently occupying fifth place in the Western Conference standings, the Clippers (39-35) are precariously positioned just two games above seventh place and the play-in tournament with a mere eight games remaining.

A potential return of George in the first round of the playoffs is considered an optimistic scenario, provided the Clippers secure a playoff berth. "His spirits are down," Lue admitted. "But that's to be expected when it's late in the season and when you want to help your team.

But we are going to support him 100 percent." It is worth noting that Kawhi Leonard tore his right ACL in Game 4 of the second round against Utah during the 2021 playoffs, yet the Clippers still advanced to the Western Conference finals before succumbing to Phoenix.

Leonard's Impressive Performance and Team's Resilience

Last season, George had to sit out the second play-in game, which resulted in a loss to New Orleans, due to a positive COVID-19 test. This occurred after he had made a comeback from a three-month hiatus caused by a torn ligament in his elbow.

On Thursday, Leonard demonstrated his prowess by hitting his first seven shots and ending the game with a stellar stat line of 32 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals. "Provided positive energy, nobody's head was down," Leonard commented, referring to the Clippers' collective effort in George's absence.

"We wish PG a speedy recovery and want him to get back to himself. But it's just next man up. And that's how we're going to have to play, we got to keep sharing the ball and then just dial in even deeper and come into these games more focused because we're missing a superstar."

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