Leonard reportedly out if there is Game 7, but if Clippers reach Finals….


LOS ANGLES — Kawhi Leonard remains out and will not play in Game 6 on Friday night against Phoenix, another win-or-go-home game for the Clippers.

He also will not play if there is a Game 7 on Friday, reports Chris Haynes of TNT and Yahoo Sports, speaking on NBA TV Wednesday. However, if the Clippers win two more in a row, complete the comeback and advance to the NBA Finals, the door may open a little.

Sources have told NBC Sports that Leonard’s doctors and personal team are primary drivers on decisions about when he could potentially return. While the Clippers could absolutely use him back on the court, they want to re-sign him this offseason and with Paul George contend for the next few years. The Clippers don’t want to risk that future with a worsened injury that impacts multiple seasons (the Kevin Durant lesson).

The Clippers also will be without Ivica Zubac for Game 6. The same situation in Game 5 forced Tyronn Lue to go small, which has been the Clippers’ best lineup this season, and they were able to contain Deandre Ayton and still win the game.

The Suns will be without Cameron Johnson in Game 6 due to a non-COVID illness, the team announced.