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Clippings: The traveling party is thinning out

The Clippers will have to dig deep on this road trip with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley to start.

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Through Sunday, the Clippers were one of the only teams in the league that hadn’t suffered any COVID-related absences during the regular season, though Reggie Jackson and assistant coach Chauncey Billups both missed a preseason game with what were believed to be inconclusive tests.

That streak has come to an ignominious end. On Monday, it was reported that both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would miss Tuesday’s game against the Hawks because they were being placed in the health and safety protocol. Neither player was on the flight to Atlanta with the Clippers, and it is unclear if and when the two will be able to join the team on its six-game East Coast trip, which continues in Miami on Thursday.

To date, the Clippers are still one of six teams that has yet to have a game postponed due to a lack of available players, though the prospect of postponement is now more plausible than it was 24 hours ago.

In addition to the two superstars, Patrick Beverley also did not join the team on its flight to Atlanta. Beverley missed the second half of LA’s win over Oklahoma City Sunday with what was deemed right knee soreness. Head coach Ty Lue didn’t have any additional information on Beverley’s status after the game, and it’s certainly not good news that he isn’t even with the team to start the road swing. Beverley missed 21 regular-season games last year and five playoff games, so his fitness is an ever-present concern.

Incidentally, the last time the Clippers played in Atlanta in January 2020, all three of Leonard, George, and Beverley were unavailable. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell scored 48 of the team’s 95 points in a loss to a Hawks team that was missing Trae Young, who is also questionable for Tuesday’s contest.

This road trip was going to be a grueling enough venture due to the health and safety restrictions before the added worries of health scares and missing players. Hopefully, all three recover shortly, and this is merely a blip in an otherwise smooth start to the Clippers season.

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