Is Kawhi Leonard playing today against Dallas Mavericks? Latest on 2-time NBA champion's status for Game 4 (April 28)

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks
Is Kawhi Leonard playing today against Dallas Mavericks?

Kawhi Leonard is ruled out against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4. However, earlier while addressing questions about a minute restriction in Game 3 (he played 24:32 minutes), Leonard revealed that he's expecting to play on Sunday afternoon.

Leonard's knee issue hasn't seemed to go away. He wasn't at 100% in Game 2 despite playing 35 minutes. The Clippers star might play again, but the questionable status makes it likely for his availability limited, elevating Dallas' shot at taking a 3-1 series lead.

What happened to Kawhi Leonard?

Kawhi Leonard is on the Clippers' injury report, citing right knee inflammation. He sustained the issue on March 31 against the Charlotte Hornets, causing him to miss nine consecutive games, including Game 1. Leonard returned but is still not at 100%. He's playing limited, as the knee hasn't responded as expected.

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The inflammation hasn't gone down, hampering Leonard's impact. The Clippers have lost both games since his return. There's not much he has been able to do on either end. The Clippers are still relying on his presence against an improved Mavericks team around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

The frequent inflammation suggests that Leonard could be dealing with a structural damage issue in his knee. He had an MCL injury in the 2023 NBA playoffs, for which he underwent a cleanup procedure. Leonard tore the ACL in that knee in the 2021 NBA playoffs, seeing him miss the entire 2021-22 season.

Kawhi Leonard stats vs. Dallas Mavericks in 2024 NBA Playoffs

Kawhi Leonard has played two games in the 2024 NBA Playoffs first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. He returned in Game 2 from a nine-game absence, playing 35 minutes. He had 15 points on 41.2% shooting. Leonard added seven rebounds and four steals, but the Clippers lost 96-93.

In Game 3, Leonard had nine points, nine rebounds, and two assists in 24:32 minutes. The Clippers were outplayed this time, leading to a 101-90 loss. The Clippers' success depends heavily on Leonard's health.

That has always been the case for them, and his injury struggles over the past few playoff runs have placed limitations on the team's ceiling.

Paul George, James Harden and Russell Westbrook haven't kept the ship afloat after mediocre performances. George, in particular, has been underwhelming, putting up 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, shooting on 40/40/100 splits.

Also read: LA Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks Top 10 Player props markets available for 2024 NBA Playoffs Game 4

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