If you go through the three NBA conference semifinal playoff series that are currently taking place, each has at least one superstar player dealing with some kind of injury.
In the Sixers/Hawks series, the topic is Joel Embiid’s knee.
In Nets/Bucks, it’s James Harden’s hamstring and Kyrie Irving’s ankle.
Now the Jazz/Clippers series is messed up because:
Leonard told teammates last night to prepare for him to be out.
He landed awkwardly on a drive in the fourth quarter and grimaced in pain Monday night. He briefly stayed in game but didn’t finish as the Clippers secured the win to even series 2-2.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 16, 2021
Kawhi was coming off back-to-back 30 point games that saw Los Angeles even their series at two games apiece.
The winner of that conference semifinal will advance to face the Phoenix Suns, who swept the Nuggets but now have to deal with this:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2021
There’s a lot of speculation about whether or not Paul got the COVID vaccine, but nothing definitive that I’ve seen out there. He’s got some time to work through the protocol, since Jazz/Clips is still taking place, but if Phoenix loses him for any extended amount of time, they’re in trouble.
It’s a bummer, because these playoffs have been good, and now every quadrant of the postseason bracket is marred by some sort of injury or health issue. It’s fitting, in an unfortunate way, because the regular season was the same. COVID issues, contact tracing, injuries, absences, all sorts of stuff. All we want is full-strength squads playing each other in high stakes, quality matchups, and it’s obvious now that we cannot have nice things.