For a team that has been waiting all season to show its championship mettle, the Los Angeles Clippers have concerns about the status of one of their star players. Paul George appeared to injure his right leg late in the fourth quarter of a 101-100 loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night. On Wednesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that George would be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks with a sprained knee.
After going up to secure a defensive rebound in a 91-91 game against Thunder guard Luguentz Dort with 4:40 remaining, George appeared to land awkwardly on his right leg as his knee looked like it became hyperextended. He immediately fell to the floor, grabbed his right knee and stayed down for several minutes. Ultimately, he was helped back to the locker room where he remained for the rest of the game.
You can see the play where the injury occurred below:
The play where Paul George suffered the scary leg injury 😳pic.twitter.com/lL8wwfdb6H— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 22, 2023
It certainly didn't look great, but Los Angeles has to hope that George's injury isn't too serious, as an extended absence for the multi-faceted forward could very well be a death knell for the Clippers' championship campaign. The regular season ends in 18 days, so while he is unlikely to play in the regular season, George could be back in time for the first round of the playoffs.
The Clippers remain in fifth place, but the loss dropped them to 38-35 and they now trail the fourth-place Phoenix Suns by two games in the loss column. Los Angeles is one game ahead of the Golden State Warriors (37-36) for the sixth spot and a game and a half up on the current top two play-in teams -- the seventh-place Thunder and eighth-place Dallas Mavericks -- that are both 36-36.
Before leaving the game, George tallied 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes. He also turned in a legitimate dunk of the year candidate with a full 360 throw-down that was especially impressive given the fact that it came in the half court as opposed to in transition.
PAUL GEORGE 360 DUNK 😱 pic.twitter.com/XyzzCAmNwb— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 22, 2023
When George is healthy, he's one of the most dynamic two-way players in the entire NBA. Unfortunately, he's no stranger to injury issues, both this season and earlier in his career. In August of 2104, George broke two bones in his right leg while playing in a World Cup scrimmage for Team USA, but he did return to play in the final six games of the 2014-15 season. And he was limited to just 31 games last season due to an elbow injury, and he missed time with a knee injury earlier this season.
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George recently said that he was finally starting to feel like himself out on the floor.
"I'm able to actually hoop," George said after the Clippers' March 5 win over the Grizzlies. "I had a hard time planting and pushing off for a long time. But now my body feels pretty good. So I feel like I can do things that I haven't been able to do pretty much for the whole season."