Kawhi Leonard ruled out for Clippers' pivotal Game 5 vs Mavericks

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Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington, left, defends as Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard (2) works to the basket during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

LOS ANGELES – Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 of the Los Angeles Clippers' tight first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night due to right knee inflammation.

Leonard was ruled out by Clippers coach Tyronn Lue on Tuesday. The six-time All-Star will sit out for the third time in the series' five games.

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Leonard missed Game 1 and Game 4 of the series after missing the final eight games of the regular season with right knee pain. Leonard returned to play in the second and third games of the series, but managed just 24 points in the two games while failing to make a 3-pointer and generally not looking sharp.

Surprisingly, the Clippers won both of the games that Leonard missed, while Dallas won both of the games in which Leonard played.

Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season while playing in 68 games, his most since the 2016-17 season with San Antonio. Injuries have repeatedly slowed Leonard in the second half of his NBA career, and he has never played a full healthy season since joining the Clippers in 2019.

He missed the entire 2021-22 season after injuring his right knee during the 2021 playoffs and requiring major surgery. The Clippers advanced to their only Western Conference finals in franchise history that spring, but Leonard missed the entire season.


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