NBA playoffs: Kawhi Leonard out for Clippers-Mavericks Game 5 with lingering knee injury

Mavericks star Luka Dončić is listed as probable for Wednesday's game in Los Angeles, but Tim Hardaway is out with an ankle injury

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5 on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks with lingering knee inflammation.

Head coach Tyronn Lue announced the news on Tuesday and told reporters that Leonard would not practice. The game will be the third that Leonard has missed in the first-round playoff series. He also missed Games 1 and 4.

The series is tied at 2-2 and heads back to Los Angeles Wednesday after two games in Dallas. The Clippers won both games that Leonard sat and lost the games that he played.

Leonard has been dealing with knee inflammation since the end of the regular season. The ailment caused him to miss the last eight games of the season before sitting Game 1 against Dallas.

Kawhi Leonard will miss his third game of the Clippers-Mavericks series
Kawhi Leonard will miss his third game of the Clippers-Mavericks series. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

In his two games against the Mavericks, Leonard has averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals while shooting 45.8% from the field. He's missed all five of his 3-point attempts. His scoring production is well below his regular-season average of 23.7 points per game. He was limited to just 24 minutes in the Clippers' Game 3 loss.

Leonard's teammates James Harden and Paul George have thrived against the Mavericks in his absence with each posting their two highest-scoring games of the series in games he missed.

It's not clear when Leonard will return. His being ruled out a day before the game suggests that his status for Game 6 could be in doubt.

The Mavericks should have star Luka Dončić available for Game 5 on Wednesday night despite his sprained knee. Dončić was injured in the first quarter of Game 3 earlier in the series, but he’s played through the injury ever since.

He was listed as questionable for Game 4 due to right knee soreness, but he ended up playing 45 minutes and finished with a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He's officially considered probable for Wednesday's game.

“It’s obviously hurting, but it’s not an excuse, man,” Dončić said after the Game 4 loss, via ESPN.

While Dončić will likely play, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has been ruled out due to a right ankle injury he first sustained in Game 2 of the series. He hasn’t played since, and it’s unclear when he’ll be back.

Dončić has averaged 29 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists so far this series against the Clippers. Hardaway has averaged 14.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season.