Clippers star Kawhi Leonard out for Game 1 vs. Mavericks

Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard is out for Sunday’s playoff Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks.

Head coach Tyronn Lue announced the news in the hours leading up to the game. Leonard has been dealing with knee inflammation and was questionable prior to being ruled out.

The injury has sidelined Leonard since March 31, and he missed the Clippers’ final eight regular-season games. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank held out hope on Thursday that he might be able to play Sunday.

“Progress has been made but the inflammation needs to continue to reduce so he can do functional basketball movements,” Frank told reporters. “We’re hopeful he’s going to get there.”

Kawhi Leonard is out for Sunday’s Game 1 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Leonard’s status for Game 2 and beyond is unclear. The Athletic reported last week that Leonard had an injection in his injured knee in early April in hopes that he would be able to play in the first round of the playoffs.

The injury leaves the Clippers at a significant disadvantage against the Mavericks. Leonard played 68 games this season — his most since 2016-17 — and made his sixth career All-Star team as the Clippers secured a fourth-place finish in the West at 51-31. Los Angeles finished 4-4 down the stretch in the games Leonard missed.

When healthy, Leonard’s a dynamic offensive player and elite defender capable of taking over a game. Injuries have plagued him throughout his career and limited him significantly since he joined the Clippers in 2019. Prior to this season, he hadn’t played more than 57 games in a single season with the Clippers and missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a torn ACL.

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