Star Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert suffered a knee injury within the first minute of Game 1 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The injury appeared serious at first glance, as Gobert was unable to stand up and had to be helped to the locker room.
Video replay showed that Gobert apparently banged knees with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute within the first 20 seconds of the series. The fact that it was a contact injury may be a good sign, as injuries like torn ACLs (the first thing people think of when they see someone go down like that) are often suffered in non-contact situations.
However, ESPN sideline reporter J.A. Adande reported later in the first quarter that the Jazz had diagnosed Gobert with a left knee sprain, and that he had been ruled out for the rest of the game.
This would be devastating news for the Jazz if Gobert is unable to play for any extended period of time. It would also be extremely unfortunate for Gobert, who was playing in the first playoff game of his career.
Gobert was the one constant this season for a team plagued by injuries to all its other starters. The 24-year-old French-born big man was a leading contender for Defensive Player of the Year and seems likely to make his first All-NBA appearance. In 81 games, he averaged 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, and added a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game while shooting 66% from the field. He is arguably Utah’s best player this season, and certainly one of their most important in the first-round matchup with the Clippers.