Tuesday night was a particularly difficult one for the Los Angeles Clippers, as they not only dropped a game at home to the Thunder that would’ve tied them with the Suns for fourth in the West, but they also saw star forward Paul George get helped off of the floor after suffering a right knee injury after a collision and awkward landing after a rebound.
Paul George had to be helped to the locker room after this…Prayers.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 22, 2023
There was considerable concern about George’s health given how bad it looked when his knee bent backwards and how much pain he was clearly in, as he reportedly left the arena on crutches afterwards. On Wednesday, an MRI was scheduled for George and the Clippers organization and its fans waited with bated breath to find out the severity of the injury. The team brought word in the afternoon that George’s injury was not as severe as initially feared, with an MRI revealing a knee sprain that will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks.
The Clippers announce that Paul George will be evaluated in two-to-three weeks, likely ruling him out for the rest of the regular season, after sustaining a sprained right knee Tuesday night.
More NBA from me: https://t.co/LGN9cVpMwn pic.twitter.com/rEDjEecGuZ
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 22, 2023
That likely means the Clippers will have to navigate the remainder of the regular season without George, as two weeks would be April 5, with the regular season ending on April 9. However, this seems to open the door for George to be back for a playoff series, which is obviously a necessity for the Clippers to be a contender in the West for a deep playoff run. George is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on 45.7/37.1/87.1 shooting splits this year.
What George’s injury does do is further narrow the margin for error for the Clippers, as they will now have even more reason to want to avoid the play-in, with George’s status up in the air for the end of the regular season and the dates for the play-in tournament. L.A. is currently one game up on the Warriors for fifth in the West standings and 1.5 games up on the Thunder and Mavs in 7th and 8th, meaning they will need to close strong without their second-star in order to maintain one of those six guaranteed playoff spots, which will buy George a touch more rest before a first round series begins.