Clippers' Kawhi Leonard sidelined for Game 1 of playoff series

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is “out” because of right knee inflammation for Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, coach Tyronn Lue said in his pregame news conference.

Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Arena on Tuesday night.

Lue said they are unsure when Leonard would be available to play, when asked if his best player could be out for multiple games.

“I’m not sure,” Lue said. “Like I said, he’s progressing. He was on the floor the last couple of days and we’re not sure. We’re just taking it day by day.”

Leonard wasn’t able to do any contact work last week when the Clippers prepared for the Mavericks with four days of practice.

Lue was asked if the medical staff had given the organization any clarity on whether Leonard can do contact work this week.

“We haven’t got that far yet,” he said.

Leonard missed the last eight regular-season games with the knee issue. He last played March 31 in a game at Charlotte.

He played in 68 games this season, the most Leonard has participated in since playing 74 games during the 2016-17 season for San Antonio.

“It’s tough for him,” Lue said. “But he’s getting better. He’s progressing. He’s been on the court the last couple of days. And, so, we’ll see. But he’s frustrated, as he should be. To put in the kind of work he did this year, play as many games as he did, do what he did this year and then now missing Game 1 of the playoffs.

“So, it’s tough on him, but we got his back 100%. We’re ready to go.”

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