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On Wednesday evening, the Los Angeles Clippers are set to face off against the Denver Nuggets in an important matchup. With numerous injuries, this should be an exciting game to witness live!
Paul George has been sidelined since December with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which poses a major concern for Clippers fans. Without George, their offense will suffer significantly and they must get him back quickly.
After an injury-free January, it appeared that the Clippers had finally found their groove in the Western Conference. But that is no longer the case.
Paul George remains sidelined with a toe injury that flared up again during his time off, creating an uncertainty for Thursday's game against Denver.
George's injury may not have been as serious as when he missed the first seven games of the season, but it still has a major effect on his game. His explosiveness has been limited since then and that poses a major concern for the Clippers this week as they enter their final stretch of regular season play.
George has been dealing with both a toe injury and an elbow issue. A torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow has kept him out of action, with initial estimates placing the recovery time for three or four weeks.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning that George's absence has been extended to five weeks and he is now in a non-contact rehab phase. This marks an impressive improvement from when he last took a break, potentially signaling his return before the season's end.
George has grown more optimistic about his chances of making an impact this season. The Clippers remain committed to their plan of non-contact rehab and hope that George will be cleared for contact within the next few weeks.
For the Clippers, this is an extremely critical moment as they have been poised for a promising playoff run this year. If they can keep both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy, they'll be in excellent shape to compete for a top-four seed in the Western Conference.
The Clippers must exercise caution with Norman Powell, who has been dealing with a foot injury. Although he is unlikely to play against the Nuggets, Powell is expected to participate in practice and could potentially be available for the game.
The Clippers will be without some key players from their starting lineup for the remainder of the season after Patrick Beverley (Knee) underwent surgery Wednesday and is out indefinitely, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Beverley's injury was a major setback for the team; he had been dealing with lingering issues this season before missing time in February and March due to inflammation in his right knee.
Beverley is one of the NBA's most underrated players, a reliable playmaker who excels on defense and can also hit timely offensive rebounds when attacking closeouts on the other side. He's known for diving on the floor to retrieve loose balls, setting screens and being an unstoppable rebounder who often involves teammates in pick-and-rolls or defensive transitions. His aggressive nature allows him to remain one step ahead of opponents on every shot he takes.
Beverley has had an illustrious career that began with James Harden in Houston before continuing on to Los Angeles where he has played alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Since joining the Lakers' offense this season, Beverley has scored 6.4 points per game while pulling down 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting 40.2 percent from three-point range - a career high for him.
University of Houston standout Beverley has had a rivalry with Russell Westbrook since 2013, when the Thunder's star attempted to steal from him during the first round of playoffs. Unfortunately, this incident ended up injuring Westbrook who tore his meniscus and couldn't play for the remainder of that postseason.
Beverley has never forgiven Westbrook for his actions and has often ridiculed him in the press and online. Their feud has lasted more than a decade, with neither party reconciling since.
At his recent appearance with the Bulls, Beverley went off on a tirade about his past disagreement with Westbrook. Referring to him as "Pat Bev trick y'all," his words have only served to further damage Westbrook's reputation.
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (Calf) will not play Friday night against the Denver Nuggets due to a right calf strain suffered during Monday's game against Brooklyn, according to sources. He is expected to miss at least one game.
Losing Zubac will be a big blow for the Clippers, even with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in their starting lineup. They could use Zubac's interior presence as they attempt to overcome Denver's unique style of attack that revolves around MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
Since his return from knee injury, Zubac has averaged 11.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 assists in 28 minutes - an impressive improvement from his previous four-game stretch where he only produced 21 rebounds on average - well below his usual output.
Zubac, though still only a standard-league player, has looked more like his old self over the last four games and been an effective fantasy manager asset. Additionally, he appears to have reestablished trust with head coach Tyronn Lue and it wouldn't be surprising if he plays in the second half of back-to-backs if things keep going as planned.
He should be a viable streaming option in this game, and it's possible that Mason Plumlee gets extended minutes as well. With an opportunity to make his first start for the Clippers and limited NBA experience thus far, Plumlee offers solid value as a backup center option.
The Clippers must do everything in their power to stifle the Denver Nuggets' offense and give their stars some rest. This is an important matchup for them; they need to stay focused and get back on track after suffering an embarrassing loss against Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Furthermore, they're trying to stay competitive in the West standings by showing that they can compete with top teams there.
The Denver Nuggets have made their way to the top of the Western Conference standings, but may face added difficulty in Tuesday's game against Los Angeles Clippers. According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post, Jamal Murray (Foot) is questionable for participation due to an update on his knee.
Since April, Murray has been sidelined with a torn ACL and has yet to play an entire season in the NBA. But his rehabilitation process is progressing nicely, and they believe he could return in time for this year's playoffs.
Though Murray hadn't practiced in a week, there were signs that he may be returning to the court on Sunday. At practice, Murray was seen taking shots, providing some optimism that he might be ready for Wednesday's match against Sacramento Kings.
According to two sources, it appears that he will still be at least one month away from returning to the court. At this stage, however, their chances for a return appear to be "50-50."
It's understandable for the Nuggets to want Murray a break before returning for their final two games of the season, but it will be interesting to see what develops with his knee. Furthermore, it could be that they decide against holding him out of Monday's game against Hornets so Bruce Brown can start in his place.
Denver could use this as an opportunity to give Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun more minutes on the field. They haven't been able to utilize those players much recently, so it could be beneficial for them to receive additional exposure.
At present, there is no estimated return date for Murray; he's expected to sit out the entirety of this season due to an ACL injury which may take up to a year to heal.
No matter when Murray returns, he should have no trouble regaining his form from last season. When healthy, Murray was one of the league's most impressive young players. He led Denver to a playoff appearance before tearing his ACL last season and will be eager to lead them back into the postseason this year.