Montrezl Harrell is expected to clear quarantine in time to be activated for the Los Angeles Clippers' first playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski. The quarantine period for players re-entering the bubble varies depending on circumstance, and Harrell's period was seven days. He has not played in any seeding games for the Clippers after leaving the team to attend to an urgent family situation that he later revealed to be the death of his grandmother.
Harrell was not the first Clipper to leave the bubble. Patrick Beverley left the bubble, but returned in time to play in seeding games. He is currently dealing with a calf injury. Lou Williams also left the bubble, but was subjected to a 10-day quarantine upon returning after pictures posted online showed him at the Magic City gentlemen's club in Atlanta.
The Clippers have relied more on starting center Ivica Zubac in Harrell's absence. He has played just under 23 minutes per game after averaging only 18.1 before the pandemic. The remainder of the center minutes have been split between JaMychal Green, Marcus Morris and new signee Joakim Noah, who has disappointed as a Clipper. When Harrell returns, all three are likely to lose playing time. Harrell plays the bulk of the minutes at center in important games, with matchup dictating Zubac's minutes vs. Green's.
Harrell is perhaps the favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year. He averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in helping lead the Clippers to the most bench points in the NBA. He is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and his performance in the postseason will likely go a long way in determining the value of his next contract. Beyond that, he is an essential element of the Clippers' championship pursuit. They'll need him conditioned and ready to contribute as quickly as possible if they hope to make it through the Western Conference gauntlet.