The Los Angeles Clippers ruled out Kawhi Leonard for Game 6 against the Dallas Mavericks in their Western Conference first-round playoff series. The Clippers face elimination trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Leonard scored 45 points in Game 6 in Dallas in the franchise’s 2021 first-round series. Los Angeles went on to win Game 7 at home over Dallas to advance to the second round.

The six-time All-Star will miss his third straight game since playing limited minutes in Game 3 because of inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.

“We’re not sure when he’s coming back,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said before Game 5. “It’s a day-to-day thing and when he’s feeling good and medical says he’s clear to go, that’s what we’ll do.”

The Clippers are coming off a pulverizing, 123-93 loss to Dallas in Game 5 on Wednesday, their worst postseason defeat in franchise history without Leonard. Los Angeles trailed by as many as 32 points and finished 9-of-35 (25.7%) shooting from 3-point range.

“That wasn’t who we’ve been in this series, and that’s not who we are,” Paul George said after the loss. “We’ve got to be better, especially in this situation. But we’ve been here before, going to Dallas being down 3-2, so we’ve just got to have a win-only mentality in Dallas.”

Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (knee) is making progress, could return for a potential Game 7 at Arena

Kawhi Leonard missed the final eight regular-season games and Game 1 of the series. The 12-year veteran returned in Game 2 and played 35 minutes. Contrary to his postgame comments, Leonard was still feeling discomfort in his knee.

“I felt good,” Leonard said. “We still got more games to play and more time to get better. Just keep trying to get a rhythm back.”

Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, provided an update on Leonard before the Clippers’ 116-111 win over Dallas in Game 4 on Sunday.

“Kawhi has been dealing with inflammation for almost three weeks in his right knee,” Frank said. “He’s doing everything, our medical staff is doing everything to get the inflammation down so he can play. Progress has been made, but more progress needs [to be made]. The inflammation needs to continue to reduce so he can do functional basketball movements.

Terance Mann was also added to the injury report as questionable with a lower right leg contusion.

The Mavericks are one win away from clinching their first playoff series victory since 2022 and only their third since winning the NBA championship against the Miami Heat in 2011.

If the Clippers even the series in Dallas on Friday, Game 7 will be on Sunday at Arena.

NBA sportsbooks show the Clippers as 7.5-point underdogs at Dallas ahead of Game 6. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Mavericks hold a 72.2% chance of winning on Friday.


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