Clippers star George exits game with right knee soreness

LOS ANGELES -- After burying five 3-pointers and scoring 21 points in the first half, Paul George was held out of the second half of the LA Clippers' 119-97 win over the San Antonio Spurs because of right knee soreness.

Clippers coach Ty Lue said George's injury did not appear to be serious. George felt good enough to remain on the bench in the second half and even took part in tossing T-shirts to the crowd during a timeout.

George did not talk to reporters after the game, but Lue said the guard was feeling fine afterward.

"He's doing OK," Lue said. "I haven't seen what they [medical staff] said what happened to him, but I just know he had like a little tweak. But he says he is OK."

One hot half of George was enough to give the Clippers a 64-48 lead at the half. George made 8 of 12 shots, including 5-for-8 from behind the arc, and scored his 21 points in 15 first-half minutes.

While the Clippers ran away with the game, they once again had to deal with a disruption to their lineup. George was held out of the second half of Kawhi Leonard's second game back during his latest return from his right knee injury.

Leonard returned Thursday in a win over Detroit after missing 12 straight games because of stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee. He played in two of the first three games of the season, coming off the bench in both, before experiencing stiffness in his right knee Oct. 25. Leonard missed all of last season after tearing his right ACL during Game 4 of the second round against Utah on June 14, 2021.

Against the Spurs on Saturday, Leonard had 11 points and four assists in 22 minutes and made 5 of 8 shots while drawing several double teams.

The Clippers have had to deal with players in and out of the lineup for much of this season. George, though, has been one of the constants for the Clippers this season. He had missed only one game this season because of a non-COVID-19 illness and entered Saturday averaging 23.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

The Clippers were already without guard Luke Kennard, who sat out because of a right calf strain.