It has been a topsy-turvy 2022-23 campaign for the Los Angeles Clippers. But in a season filled with both high and low points, there might not be a more significant turning point than the Clippers’ 101-100 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night — not simply because of the unfavorable result that puts them ever so close to a precarious play-in standing, but because of the apparent knee injury Paul George suffered late in the fourth quarter of that contest.
In particular, George appeared to hyperextend his knee in a collision with Thunder wing Luguentz Dort, immediately falling to the hardwood in pain. George then had to be helped off the court, which already signifies plenty of concern with the postseason on the docket. And the Clippers’ worst fears — a prolonged absence from PG — could very well turn out to be true.
According to Tomer Azarly, Clippers beat writer for Clutchpoints, there is “significant concern” regarding the severity of Paul George’s knee hyperextension.
Of course, George will still need to undergo a few tests, most notably an X-ray and an MRI, to determine the exact severity of his injury. However, a cursory look at George in the aftermath of his collision with Dort alludes to a serious injury that could prove to be devastating for the Clippers’ chances at a title, as slim as they might have already been before PG’s injury.
Paul George had already gone through a few lower body injuries earlier in the season. A knock or two on his hamstring and knee kept him out for a few games as the Clippers struggled early on in the campaign. However, the injuries that have kept him for prolonged stretches over the past few seasons have mostly been on his upper body, specifically his elbow and shoulders.
If George were to miss a significant period of time due to his injury, the likes of Russell Westbrook, Marcus Morris, and Eric Gordon will have to shoulder a heavier offensive burden to help out Kawhi Leonard. Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington should also play a larger role.
But at the end of the day, Clippers fans will be hoping that George returns in time for the beginning of the postseason, especially with the team yet to make good on their championship potential ever since entering the Kawhi-PG era in 2019.