This is the same knee that had him out from the middle of the 2021 Playoffs through early in the 2022-23 season.
He’d played 41 and 39 minutes in the two games played in this first round series against the Suns, scoring an average of 34.5 points on 54/60/89 shooting splits (FG%, 3P%, FT%) on 30.2% usage rate.
He scored 38 points in the first game, including a pair of three-pointers in the final minutes to secure the win. He then scored 31 in the second game, even playing nine minutes of the fourth quarter as the Clippers were down double digits, until mop-time with a minute left and the Clippers down 13.
According to ESPN, sources tell them he aggravated the knee in Game 1 and played through it in Game 2.
Breaking: Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Game 3 against the Suns because of a right knee sprain, sources told @NotoriousOHM.— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2023
He aggravated his knee in Game 1, played through it in Game 2 and is expected to be day-to-day ahead of Game 4, a source told @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/kWWsrOjUN5
Yet this was a surprise announcement. Leonard was not listed on any injury reports after Game 1, played 39 minutes, and was not listed until the 4:30 PM Eastern report today where he was suddenly listed as OUT. At that point, reporters have been scrambling for details.
The Clippers will now be without both of the All-Stars, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. They had to play without both in their second play-in game last offseason when George came down with COVID. Now they’ll be without both in Game 3, at the least.
Here’s the great John Schumann with a tweet and graph on how the Clips have done with and without those guys.
Here are the Clippers' regular-season record & numbers for when they had George and/or/nor Leonard. pic.twitter.com/1RkSrZzENE— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) April 20, 2023
Game 3 of Suns vs. Clippers is set to tip off in less than six hours, at 7:30 PM AZ time. Game 4 will be played less than two days later, at 12:30 PM AZ time on Saturday.