Is Kawhi Leonard playing in Game 1? Latest injury update for Clippers vs Mavericks

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is dealing with a knee injury that leaves his status uncertain for Game 1.
LA Clippers, Kawhi Leonard
LA Clippers, Kawhi Leonard / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Clippers have homecourt in their first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. They knocked out Dallas in the first-round of the playoffs in 2020 and 2021 before the Mavs made a run to the conference finals in 2022. The Clippers would likely be favored again, but nobody knows if Kawhi Leonard will play in this series as he deals with inflammation in his knee. The Klaw will likely make his sixth All-NBA appearance, and his team will struggle without their best player.

Head coach Tyronn Lue always has a few tricks in his bag, but Luka Doncic can go nuclear in the playoffs. It took everything Kawhi and LA had to knock Dallas out in 2021. The Mavericks MVP-candidate is still improving, and the Clippers will need their superstar.

His status was questionable heading into Sunday, but do things change? Here is everything fans need to know about Leonard’s injury and Game 1 against the Mavericks.

Kawhi Leonard’s status for Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 1

Reports have been mixed in recent days. Shams Charania said Leonard was ramping up his activity, but Skip Bayless said Kawhi would be out for Game 1. He is officially listed as questionable, but Ohm Youngmisuk reported Leonard has not done contact yet. Kawhi appears likely to miss Game 1 and possibly more. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

UPDATE: Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 1.

Clippers injury report

Leonard is the only Clipper on their injury report heading into Game 1. Fans will anxiously await updates on his final status ahead of the afternoon clash on Sunday.

Mavericks injury report

Tim Hardaway Jr. is the only Maverick on the injury report. He is listed as questionable with an illness, but is expected to play.

Projected starting lineups

Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., Daniel Gafford

Clippers: James Harden, Paul George, Terance Mann, Kawhi Leonard, Ivica Zubac

What to expect in Mavericks vs. Clippers Game 1?

LA will attempt to maintain homecourt with a win, but it could be tough sledding. Leonard has not played in April, so he will have missed three weeks at minimum. Luka Doncic will be revved up. He often shines brightest on the biggest stages, but it will be primetime in his home country of Slovenia. The Clippers will have their hands full slowing him down.

Coach Lue will have a stellar game plan prepared. The Clippers must execute it if they want to win. Expect plenty of small ball and different defenses for Luka to solve. LA hopes to make it three playoff series wins over the Mavs in five years, but it starts by winning one game. Expect the Clippers to be ready. No matter Kawhi's status, they will be prepared and make things difficult on the Mavericks.

Mavericks vs. Clippers playoff schedule

Game 1: Sunday, April 21 at 12:30 p.m. PT in Los Angeles on ABC

Game 2: Tuesday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. PT in Los Angeles on TNT

Game 3: Friday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT in Dallas on ESPN

Game 4: Sunday, April 28 at 12:30 p.m. PT in Dallas on ABC

Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 1 at TBD in Los Angeles

Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 3 at TBD in Dallas

Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 5 at TBD in Los Angeles