Clippers Receive Unfortunate Injury News Ahead of Lakers Game

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue

Getty Clippers coach Tyronn Lue looks on during a game on October 25, 2023.

The Los Angeles Clippers (37-19) will be without All-Star Paul George for their critical derby clash against the Los Angeles Lakers (31-28) on February 28.

George, who missed the previous game against the Sacramento Kings with knee soreness, did not participate in the Clippers’ practice session on February 27, per Clippers beat writer Mark Medina. After practice, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that George will sit out the home game against the Lakers.

Medina further reported that George “got some shots up” before the Clippers’ practice session, signaling that his injury might not keep him out for an extended period.

Paul George’s Healthiest Season in Years

Despite his recent injury, George is in the middle of his healthiest NBA season in years, having missed only four games up to this point. Appearing in 52 of the Clippers’ 56 games, George is averaging 22.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting 40% from deep and a career-best 90% from the free-throw line.

After remaining relatively healthy in his first season with the Clippers, in 2019-20, George has been riddled with injuries over the past three years. Through the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons, he missed 28, 51 and 26 games, respectively, impacting LA’s hopes of making deep postseason runs. Before the start of the 2023-24 season, George admitted that his stint with his hometown franchise had been clouded by injuries.

“My legacy here is just haven’t been able to finish,” George told the Los Angeles Times. “I think in a lot of ways, injury prone, inability to finish. So can’t even say that — like, I never go into a summer like, ‘Hey, what do I need to work on to get better, what do I need to’ … I got to just try to find a way to stay healthy.”

A Crucial Offseason Awaits

The next three months could essentially determine the basketball legacy of George, who has until June 29 to exercise his $48.8 million player option for the 2024-25 season. If George, 33, and the Clippers were to win the NBA championship, or even make a deep postseason run, it is widely expected that he’d sign a contract extension and likely end his career with the franchise.

On the flip side, if the Clippers were to suffer an early postseason exit, there’s a good chance George tests free agency in the offseason. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers are both expected to make a run at George if he hits the open market. The Sixers – with the flexibility to create more than $50 million in cap space – could potentially form a new Big 3 comprising All-Stars Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and George.

The Pacers, meanwhile, would be reuniting with the player they drafted in 2010. The prospect of returning to Indiana is something George has spoken about publicly. In a recent interview with Marc Spears of Andscape, George said he’d love for the Pacers to retire his No. 13 jersey one day.

“Honestly, you think about the guys, there’s only, what, [four] guys that’s retired there,” George said. “But when you think about, again, the guys that are up there, Reggie [Miller], what, 18 years? I think for them it’s a longevity that stands out in that arena. I just didn’t play enough play long enough there.”

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