The basketball world was hit with some unfortunate news on Wednesday as it was revealed that two of the best players this NBA postseason are slated to miss a significant amount of time.
Early Wednesday morning, it was revealed that Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul had entered COVID-19 protocol, putting him in jeopardy of missing the Western Conference Finals. Speculation began to spread as basketball fans and experts alike wondered if he had contracted COVID-19 or if it was just a precaution. After all, certain reporters confirmed that the veteran guard had been vaccinated back in February. However, it later turned out that Paul did test positive for the virus, meaning he’s expected to miss a significant amount of time as the Suns prepare for the NBA Western Conference Finals.
There’s no telling how much time Paul will miss. COVID-19 affects people differently, especially depending on whether or not they’re symptomatic or asymptomatic. The hope is that Paul recovers quickly, however, this awful news couldn’t have happened at a worse time. The Suns were looking like one of the best teams this postseason and the 11-time NBA All-Star was playing as if he were a lot younger than 36 years old.
Paul was averaging 15.7 PPG/4.1 RPG/8.7 APG before getting sidelined. He had even dropped 37 points in his last game to send Phoenix to the Western Conference Finals. Regardless of how long he’s out for, he will be missed.
NBA News: Kawhi Leonard Suffers ACL Injury, Out Indefinitely
The Clippers opened up their second-round NBA postseason series against the Utah Jazz with two straight losses. Things were looking bleak until Kawhi Leonard put on a pair of fantastic performances, helping Los Angeles tie up the series. Unfortunately, the Clippers will have to continue on without Leonard for the foreseeable future.
It was revealed on Wednesday that Leonard had injured his ACL in the Clippers’ 118-104 Game 4 victory over the Jazz. He’ll be forced to miss Game 5 and could wind up missing the entire series altogether. While it’s known that it’s some sort of sprain, ESPN is reporting that more images will need to be done on Leonard’s knee to determine the severity of the issue. Once those results come back, the Clippers and their fans will have a better idea of what the two-time NBA Finals MVP’s future will look like.
The Clippers were just +150 underdogs heading into Wednesday’s Game 5 before the news about Leonard’s injury broke. Now, their odds have slipped to +260, according to BetOnline. It’s going to be up to Paul George and the rest of the Clippers to work together if they want to bring the organization its first NBA Championship.
Leonard was averaging 30.4 PPG/7.7 RPG/4.4 APG in the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs up until this point. The 29-year-old also has a big decision to make this offseason. If he doesn’t accept his $36 million player option, Leonard will be an unrestricted free agent. Keeping that in mind, the Clippers may need a strong finish to the postseason in order to convince their best player to return for one more year.