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Clippers F Kawhi Leonard out with knee injury for Game 5 vs. Jazz

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard holds his knee after stepping awkwardly during the second half in Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Utah Jazz Monday, June 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard has a right knee injury that will keep him out of the Los Angeles Clippers’ lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, the team said.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the Clippers fear Leonard suffered an ACL injury.

Leonard is out indefinitely and his status hinges on what he and the Clippers learn after additional examination and treatment, said a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not divulged the injury.

ESPN first reported that Leonard is dealing with the knee injury.

Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, is averaging 30.4 points on 57% shooting in the playoffs.

The injury appeared to occur with about 5:20 left in Game 4 of the series against Utah on Monday night, when he was fouled on a drive by Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic. Leonard was dribbling into the lane when he was bumped, and his right knee appeared to buckle slightly. He grimaced in some discomfort, missed the two free throws that were awarded following the foul, but remained in the game for 45 more seconds.

He checked out with 4:35 remaining and did not return; the Clippers led by 16 points when he checked out and the lead remained in double figures the rest of the way.

The Clippers-Jazz series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and Game 6 back in Los Angeles on Friday night.

Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Salt Lake City on Sunday. If the Clippers-Jazz series ends Friday, Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the LA-Utah winner and the Phoenix Suns will be Sunday.

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