Los Angeles Clippers head coach Ty Lue has had to learn to lead his team without the services of Kawhi Leonard, one of the franchise cornerstones, and now the team will move forward without the other; Paul George.
George is expected to miss at least the next three to four weeks with a torn UCL in his right elbow, an injury he suffered during the Clippers game against the Portland Trail Blazers back on December 6th. George would return against the San Antonio Spurs on December 20th, but would play only two more games before being ruled out for a least the next month of action.
“He was just having soreness after the [Sacramento] game and so he went to get an MRI and we got the bad news,” Lue said of George’s injury on Sunday (via Tomer Azarly of clutchpoints). “That’s about it.”
“That’s got to be our mindset and that’s got to be Clipper basketball.” Lue added. “Just try to play the right way and compete every single night. Guys get to step up but not do too much, just do it by committee and we’ve been here before. I know we hear the next-man-up mentality, but that’s how we got to be. We’ve done it for periods of time and now it’s going to be a little longer than we expected with both Kawhi and PG, but Reggie will be back soon, Marcus will be back soon.
“Just continue to build good habits on both sides of the basketball. Our young guys going to get some experience. Thought they did a great job in the Sacramento game of just pushing the tempo. I thought defensively, getting stops, and Serge with that second unit was pretty good as well. We’ve just got to continue to keep building off that.”
“One game at a time. We lost PG for two weeks like you said, but then we had Reggie and we had Marcus for a little bit of that stretch as well. With those two guys being out, you lose your top four scorers with Kawhi, PG, Marcus, and Reggie, but our young guys have to come in and play well, play hard and compete. They’re going to make some mistakes and we’re going to have to stay patient in that regard, but like I said I still feel confident that we got a lot in this locker room and we can still get it done. No one’s going to feel sorry for us, everyone’s going through the same thing right now, and so our biggest thing is just continuing to build habits and try to win games as best as possible.”