NBA: Clippers' Kawhi Leonard out, team fears ACL injury

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jun 17 2021 10:43 AM

NBA: Clippers' Kawhi Leonard out, team fears ACL injury 1
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves the ball against Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the second half in game four in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal series on Wednesday with a knee injury.

The Los Angeles Clippers confirmed Leonard has a sprained right knee and won't play in Game 5 against the Utah Jazz. The Athletic reported the team fears Leonard suffered an ACL injury.

Sportsbooks scurried to adjust odds early Wednesday, sliding the Jazz from three-point favorites to seven-point home favorites with Leonard out.

ESPN reported Leonard's status for the remainder of the best-of-seven series is very much in doubt.

Leonard can opt out of his current contract and return to free agency at the end of the season. There is precedent for an All-NBA type of talent reaching a contract year and receiving maximum value.

The Nets pulled off a sign-and-trade to get Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors in July 2019 despite a ruptured Achilles. He signed a four-year, $164.25 million deal -- the max contract under NBA rules at the time -- and did not play in 2019-2020.

The same summer, Leonard signed a three-year, $103 million deal with an opt out in 2021. He has played for the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Clippers.

The five-time All-Star turns 30 on June 29.

A First Team All-NBA selection this season, Leonard left Game 4 against the Utah Jazz with a right knee injury, but said "I'll be good" for Game 5.

Leonard grabbed for the knee after bumping into Utah's Joe Ingles, and he departed less than a minute later.

The Clippers travel to Utah for Game 5 after winning the last two games to tie the series.


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