The Los Angeles Clippers have been playing without star Kawhi Leonard over the last week as he recovers from inflammation in his right knee. With Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns coming up, will Leonard be able to suit up in the first half of a back-to-back set?

The Clippers sent their injury report to the NBA, and unfortunately, it lists Kawhi Leonard as out with the right knee inflammation. It will be his fifth consecutive game missed with the swelling in his knee.

Earlier this week, Tyronn Lue would not speak to whether Kawhi Leonard underwent an MRI on his injured right knee, and simply said that the Clippers would need to play without him for a couple games until he can get back.

“I mean, we're not going to get into the details of it, but he has knee soreness and he's going to miss a couple games, and so we got to be ready to step up and play without him until he's ready,” Tyronn Lue told members of the media last week before the Clippers took on the Denver Nuggets.” And so he's going through his rehab process and trying to get better.”

As ClutchPoints reported earlier this week, Kawhi Leonard did, in fact, undergo an MRI, which didn't show anything of concern. He's not expected to miss a significant amount of time, but Tuesday will mark his fifth missed game in a row.

The Clippers, meanwhile, have done exactly what Tyronn Lue has asked of them in Leonard's absence. With three straight wins — including one against the defending NBA Champions and one against the formidable Cleveland Cavaliers — the Clippers are nearing securing a top four seed in the Western Conference

Finishing with a top four seed will not only give the Clippers home-court advantage in at least the first round, but it will also give them about a week off to prepare for the playoffs, which are set to begin on April 20th.

Kevin Durant and the Suns have been rolling of late, winning three in a row before dropping a close game against the desperate New Orleans Pelicans. Phoenix is desperately trying to pile up wins late and avoid the play-in tournament.

The Clippers are entering a back-to-back set against Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns, which is also the end of a five-in-seven. While Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Tuesday's game, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he plays Wednesday night. Still, being ruled out a day in advance almost never bodes well for a player's chances at an immediate return, so Leonard's status will certainly be one to monitor as the season winds down.

Additionally, with only the Suns, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets remaining, the Clippers may very well be able to secure a top four seed without Kawhi Leonard and rest him through the start of the postseason. If that's what ends up happening, Leonard will have at least 20 days between his last game against the Hornets on March 31st and the first game of the postseason, which will either be April 20th or April 21st.

In 68 appearances for the Clippers this season, Kawhi Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.56 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game on 52.5 percent shooting from the field, 41.7 percent from three, and 88.5 percent from the free throw line.