The Los Angeles Clippers are preparing for Game 5 of the Western Conference's first round series against Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, it's looking likely that Kawhi Leonard may not be able to suit up for that game.

The Clippers have announced that Leonard, who is dealing with a right knee sprain, has been listed as OUT for Tuesday's Game 5 of the first round. Kawhi Leonard had played in the first two games of the series, but now appears poised to miss three straight following the knee injury.

Leonard suffered the right knee sprain during Game 1 of Clippers-Suns back on Sunday, April 16th. The injury was sustained late in the game, but he played through it and finished with 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting. The Clippers won behind his monster performance and took a 1-0 series lead over Kevin Durant's Suns.

After an off-day to recover, Leonard suited up and played in Game 2, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting. It was after Game 2 that the symptoms of his injury worsened and the medical staff decided he would not be cleared to play in Game 3.

“Look, if we weren't comfortable with him playing, we wouldn't have [ruled him out],” President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said of Leonard before Game 3. “But, like I said, after the game, things didn't get better, they got worse. So we ruled him out for [Game 3]. Just kind of take it day by day.

“In these type of injuries, you feel so bad for him. I mean, everything that he puts into returning from the ACL, but everything he's put into his craft — literally the playoffs, these are the moments he lives for. You feel horrible for Kawhi that he's out for [Game 3]. We'll take it day by day.”

Now, the Clippers have also ruled him out for Game 5, meaning the Clippers would be eliminated from the postseason if they lose Tuesday's game.

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It's very deflating,” Tyronn Lue said of Kawhi Leonard's injury. “I think more so for Kawhi because you have a guy who's coming off ACL, hasn't missed a rehab session, eats right, eats clean, does everything he can for his body, works extremely hard to get to this point. Then you have something like this happen. So it's tough for him, for all the work that he puts in. I feel bad for him.”

Lue said he has a plan in place for both scenarios in which Leonard is and is not available. The latter will likely be utilized more with potentially just two games left in the Clippers' season. He also took time to defend his two-time NBA Finals MVP from critics who think he's choosing to sit these crucial games out.

“You can't listen to the outside noise, which I never do anyway,” Lue explained. “He's definitely hurt. It's not load management where he's taking time off. He's shown in his past that he's played through injuries in the playoffs. If it's something he can't play through, then it has to be pretty serious. We're not talking about him sitting out because he's load managing or he's tired or nothing like that. it's an actual thing. What the outside is saying, who cares? My job is to make sure we're in good spirits. I trust the guys that we have on the floor now.”

Russell Westbrook echoed similar sympathetic sentiments after the Clippers' Game 3 loss, saying he knows how hard Kawhi Leonard works in order to be out there on the floor with his team.

“I mean, I just feel sorry for him,” Russell Westbrook said. “He probably was playing his best basketball in a while, probably the best in the world honestly. It just sucks just for him mentally. That's first thing I go to. But it was good to see him be around and communicate with us on the bench. Hopefully we can see how he feeling and see what's next.

“If he's not back, we have to rally around each other, support each other, find ways to make something happen. It's a series. First to four. Get ready for Saturday afternoon.”

Game 5 between Russell Westbrook's Clippers and Kevin Durant's Phoenix Suns will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. PST in downtown Phoenix.