Clippers’ Ivica Zubac out for Game 5 vs. Suns with MCL sprain

Jun 28, 2021, 1:07 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm

Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, left, shoots as center Ivica Zubac, right, and Phoenix Suns...

Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, left, shoots as center Ivica Zubac, right, and Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton battle for the rebound during the first half of game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference Finals, Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Los Angeles Clippers will play without big man Ivica Zubac when they take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, head coach Ty Lue said pregame.

The center has a sprained right MCL. He hasn’t missed a game due to injury over the past two years.

In Zubac’s place in the starting lineup will be wing Terance Mann, who started Game 1 of the series.

Mann will join Patrick Beverley, Reggie Jackson, Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. to begin Game 5. The Suns will, as usual, counter with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton.

Zubac has started three of the four Western Conference Finals games, averaging 12.8 points and 11 rebounds over 31.1 minutes per contest. He’s shooting 58.3% from the field and is an 88.5% free throw shooter.

Zubac was given the nod following Game 1 and has posted a double-double in each game since joining the starting lineup.

Zubac joins Kawhi Leonard on the shelf in a win-or-go-home game, adding even more to Paul George’s plate as the Clippers try to avoid elimination.

Leonard hasn’t played since Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals due to a knee injury that is reportedly feared to be an ACL issue.

DeMarcus Cousins could be in line for a heavier workload if Zubac is out Monday night, but the Clippers can also revert back to their five-out lineups with wings Paul George, Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, Luke Kennard and Mann rotating alongside guards Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley.

The Suns take a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night.

Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for continued Suns coverage throughout the day leading up to the 6 p.m. tip.

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