LA Clippers: Serge Ibaka injury update is positive but not good enough

Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Serge Ibaka is getting closer and closer to a return for the LA Clippers.

As Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints made clear, Ibaka has been improving. He’s close to a return, and is already playing 3-on-3 basketball.

We’ll need him to get in on that 5-on-5 action, of course, before he’s ready to join us against Golden State for our first regular season game. The tricky thing is that the Clippers’ schedule hasn’t always been the easiest to work with for Ibaka’s recovery.

It’s at least a very good thing that Ibaka can take contact. The next step is getting up to 100% so that he can get in some game action.

Serge Ibaka is making progress, but not enough progress to join the LA Clippers for Game 1.

Serge Ibaka likely wouldn’t start for the LA Clippers anyway in that first game against the Golden State Warriors, but he’s going to be much needed for the Clips throughout this upcoming season.

We need big man depth, because we don’t have a whole ton of it right now, with just four bigs on our roster. Four doesn’t sound like a bad number, but many are expecting us to only end up keeping one of Harry Giles or Isaiah Hartenstein.

Luckily, the Warriors aren’t the biggest team themselves, and have been playing many small ball lineups throughout games in the entirety of Steve Kerr’s career up in the bay.

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No Ibaka means that Ivica Zubac will be tasked to hold down the front court with strong rebounding and rim protection. Ty Lue seems to want to start Zubac regardless, but his minutes may be extended if there’s no Ibaka at the start of the season.