Clippers star, one-time NBA MVP Russell Westbrook out indefinitely with broken hand


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The Los Angeles Clippers are in the midst of a playoff push, but the team will likely have to make it through the last several weeks of the regular season without one of its star players.

Russell Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP, broke his hand during the Clippers’ matchup with the Washington Wizards Friday night. 

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said it appeared Westbrook was injured after some incidental contact with a Wizards player’s elbow.

“Just feel bad for Russ right now,” Lue said. “You never want to see a player get hurt. [Washington’s Jordan] Poole drove around, and he tried to deflect it from the back. I think he hit his elbow with his hand.”

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Russell Westbrook looks to shoot

Russell Westbrook of the LA Clippers goes to the basket in a game during the 2023 NBA Playoffs April 16, 2023, at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Westbrook exited Friday’s game in the second quarter and did not return. He finished the contest with six points. Lue said the amount of time Westbrook will miss remains unclear.

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“So, we don’t know what timetable, don’t know if he needs surgery or anything yet,” Lue said. “But he’s out right now. So, just trying to figure it out.”

The Clippers sit in the fourth spot in the Western Conference.

Russell Westbrook backs down Devin Booker

Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook backs down Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round playoff series April 16, 2023, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Ten-time NBA All-Star James Harden said the team will miss “everything he brings to the game.”

“His athleticism,” Harden explained. “His energy. His playmaking ability. His leadership.”

The Clippers did receive some positive news on the injury front. Paul George is expected to return from a two-game absence after experiencing discomfort in his left knee.

Russell Westbrook during a Clippers game

Russell Westbrook (0) of the Los Angeles Clippers posts up Saben Lee (38) of the Phoenix Suns during a game at Footprint Center April 9, 2023, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

“I just needed some time off,” George said. “It was a rough stretch going into the [All-Star] break, coming out of the break. And, so, just my body needed that rest. But I felt good tonight and was able to walk out clean.”

Westbrook entered the 2023-24 season as the starting point guard, but his role changed shortly after the team traded for Harden in October. Westbrook relinquished his position in the starting lineup and, since that move, the Clippers have won 35 of 48 games.

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Westbrook has appeared in all 58 games this season. The 35-year-old is averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 assists per game.

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