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What’s Going On With Luc Mbah a Moute’s Sore Knee?

Luc Mbah a Moute has suffered from a sore left knee since mid-October and hasn’t sniffed the floor since. Not a break, not a sprain, not a tear — just sore. What is going on here?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

If you have entered a weight room before, you know the feeling. Yes, that feeling. The feeling that you literally can’t move the day after bench pressing 100 pounds for three sets and doing some pull-ups. Or, if you are a more advanced lifter, putting up a personal record (they abbreviate em’ to PR’s in the lifting community…ask our resident bodybuilder Farbod Esnaashari) on the squat rack or having a really hard leg day. You won’t be walking without feeling the wobbles for at least three days.

If you have ever even played a sport at any competitive level, you know that being sore is a normal feeling for athletes in their day-to-day. For NBA players, especially this late in the season, it pretty much has to be the default setting. Playing every night, traveling, talking to us in the press…tired and sore is standard. Something you get used to throughout your career and learn to play with.

For 11-year veteran Luc Mbah a Moute, soreness has taken over his season and prevented him from being a consistent member of the Clippers. Nothing crazy — no breaks, tears, sprains — just having a left knee that can’t seem to heal from some injury that occurred at some point during the month of October. Even odder, nobody can seem to pinpoint what exactly went down. The last game he played in was October 23 against the Pelicans, where he played 16 mins (about average for what he played in the first three games) and didn’t leave the game due to injury. The next day, reports came out that Luc had a sore left knee and was out indefinitely. No biggie right? Maybe give him two-three weeks given his age and general stiffness. Well, weeks have turned to months, and 2018 to 2019, and we still haven’t laid eyes on the Cameroonian Prince. Just poof, gone. Like some sick magic trick.

About once a week since the injury has occurred, someone in the press will ask Doc Rivers about the status of Luc and we will get answers that range from “He’s close” to “I have no idea.” There’s no linear narrative to these answers either, as we’ve heard these in and out for months. Confusion has officially settled in for members of the press, and we are all still pretty much in the dark. Even Luc himself has stirred the pot recently with tweets from his own accounts and from his mouth.

From Dec 24:

From Jan 24:

From Jan 31 (Per Tomer Azarly):

Some context: Caris Levert suffered one of the most gruesome-looking injuries seen on an NBA floor on November 12, nearly a whole month after Luc’s supposed sore knee, and is still pegged to return before Luc can recover from his knee SORENESS. This dude DISLOCATED his foot, and is coming back before Mbah a Moute. How?!?

This has been an unfortunate turn of events, because Luc’s versatility and ability to defend the wing would have helped the Clippers this season. Despite being 32-years-old, Luc is a solid wing shooter, and with his length can guard positions 1-4 at a good to great level. The Clips made it a point to snatch him back from Houston for veteran leadership and his defense. He showed flashes early on this season, as in his final three games he was a combined +23 in plus/minus, 2-for-4 from three, and was shooting 44 percent overall. For a team that currently ranks in the bottom half in the league in defensive rating, the Clips kind of need a healthy Luc. Will we see that this season? At this point, nobody knows.

Did Luc pull off a $4.3 million heist before he sails off in the retirement sunset — or is his knee just made of single-ply toilet paper? I really don’t see how a sore knee can make you miss 50+ games of an NBA season, especially when you are under the age of 33. Theories abound, but here are a few of my personal favorites:

  1. Luc is secretly a general Western Conference scout, and is feeding info about the Clips to teams…makes sense with the recent downturn in the Clips performance.
  2. Luc knows he is going to retire after this season and just wanted a winter in L.A. and the ability to hit 1Oak nightly.
  3. Luc knew Steve Alford was going to get fired at UCLA and came to L.A. to try to finagle his way into the coaching staff at UCLA next season.

Clips Nation…what’s your best theory as to why Luc has not returned to the floor? Comment below. The crazier the theory, the better.