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The Los Angeles Clippers could miss both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the 2021-22 season, per Clippers sources.
Last week, Clippers sources indicated that there was a “strong possibility” that Kawhi Leonard could return before the end of the 2021-22 season.
One week later, Clippers sources are now offering a more disappointing update. Not only is there “a healthy dose of skepticism” that Leonard will retake the floor this season, but apparently the Clippers are “operating under the possibility that George may not return this season”, sources told Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard could be out for the rest of the Clippers season
Sitting at eighth in the Western Conference, the Clippers are now 21-21 without two of their biggest stars. While there was excitement that Leonard could return if the Clippers continue on a path to the playoffs, Leonard’s own reservations could be what keeps him from returning early — especially if the Clippers will miss the postseason.
“He’s always played things methodically and cautiously,” said one source with knowledge of Leonard’s thinking. “I knew he was ahead of schedule [in his rehab], but I wouldn’t bet on it. Kawhi is always focused on the long term. If they’re not in the playoff picture, I think the chances he comes back are slim to none.”
George has been out since early December, when he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament on Dec. 6. George returned for two games on Dec. 20 and 22, but he reaggravated his injury and has been out since then.
A Christmas Day update indicated that George would be reevaluated in 3-4 weeks, but Clippers sources suggest that George is expected to sit out for the rest of the season.
However, George and his friends are telling a different story to some extent. When Reggie Jackson asked how George was doing, he replied that his elbow “felt good.” Of course, it’s entirely possible that his recovery could be on track and still be unable to handle the rigor of basketball before May.
At this point, it’s all speculation as to whether or not George or Leonard will return, but what is certain is that the Clippers could use the two to log more wins for better playoff seeding.