The Los Angeles Clippers announced that Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris Sr. are out of the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Paul George (illness; non-Covid) and Marcus Morris (personal) are OUT tomorrow for Clippers-Thunder.— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) October 24, 2022
Kawhi Leonard (right knee injury management) is out for tonight’s game against OKC.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 25, 2022
The trio join young duo Jason Preston and Moussa Diabate, who have been sent down to play for the Ontario Clippers in the G-League, meaning the team will be without four players in total.
George’s absence is listed as a non-Covid illness, while Morris had recently tweeted about the passing of his father, which coupled with the fact his twin brother Markieff is out of the Brooklyn Nets next game for the same official reason, possibly explains his unavailability. Leonard’s absence, meanwhile, sounds like more precautionary load management like he underwent this weekend.
Ty Lue says Kawhi “experienced some stiffness in his knee” so Clippers are sending him back to LA to get treatment and work out there.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 25, 2022
Morris was huge for the team in their loss to the Phoenix Suns, on the day of the aforementioned tweet, and has made a good start to his bid to be the NBA’s leading three-point shooter percentage wise. George had a big night of his own on the first game of this weekend’s back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings and has filled up the box score in every game so far.
These absences will likely lead to even more minutes for Nicolas Batum and Terrance Mann, who saw their court time ramped up on Saturday before a slight drop again on Sunday. There may also be an argument to ramp Kawhi Leonard’s minutes up for the first time this season. The Clippers’ star man has been restricted to just 20 minutes per game so far, but has looked very comfortable whenever he’s taken to the court.
The Thunder will also be without some key players too, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams and, of course, Chet Holmgren. That coupled with the fact they will have their sights set on being in the Victor Wembanyama conversation means the Clippers should be aiming to boost their early season win percentage further over the next two matchups this week.