Leonard aggravated his right knee during the Clippers’ Game 1 victory and played through it in Game 2, won by the Phoenix Sunsa source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Leonard’s injury is not related to the torn right ACL injury that kept the two-time Finals MVP out of all of last season and he is expected to be day-to-day moving forward, the source told Wojnarowski. Game 4 is an early afternoon tip on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Already without the injured Paul George (right knee sprain), the Clippers now have the tall task of having to defend home court against the Suns without their two franchise stars as the best-of-7 series stands at 1-1.
Leonard played 42 minutes and had 38 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 115-110 win at Phoenix in Game 1. When asked about the heavy minutes he logged in the victory, head coach Ty Lue said this was why the Clippers worked carefully Leonard’s minutes and workload up all season long. Leonard sat out at least one game in back-to-backs until the final two sets of back-to-backs of the season.
“That’s what we’ve been saving up for,” Lue said after Game 1 of how they managed Leonard all season. “This moment here in the playoffs, we have to play heavy minutes, especially with PG being out, being short-handed, and he was great.”
Leonard played 39 minutes and had 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the Suns’ 123–109 win in Game 2.
The Clippers’ star is averaging 34.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 54.5% from the field in the first round.
Without Leonard, the Clippers would lean even more on Russell Westbrookwho is averaging 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists.