BOSTON — The LA Clippers limp into the All-Star break with injury concerns after Paul George suffered a strained left hamstring again and was ruled out of Thursday night’s 141-133 double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.
The Clippers announced George was out at halftime because of the same injury that cost him nine straight games in January and a total of 10 games.
“He just told me that he felt his hamstring again,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said about when George hurt himself in the first half. “He said it wasn’t bad. I said you shouldn’t have told me that. I don’t think he wanted to come out. But once you tell me your hamstring, you feel anything, we have an All-Star break coming up, it’s a no-brainer for us.”
Rivers admitted he was worried about his guard, who had tightness in his left hamstring and missed a game against Memphis on Jan. 4. After returning and playing in a game, George strained his left hamstring during a practice on Jan. 8 and then sat out the next nine games.
He returned and played in the next seven games before straining the hamstring again in Boston after playing 15 minutes and scoring four points.
“Yeah I am,” Rivers said when asked if he was worried about George’s injury. “I’m a little concerned about that one because that’s the second time now, maybe third. Listen, I don’t know what to do, but I know rest you have to do and we’ll see.”
The Clippers return from the All-Star break and play next on Feb. 22 against Sacramento. Health has been an issue for the Clippers all season. Kawhi Leonard has been managing a knee issue that keeps him out of the second of back-to-back games. George didn’t start the season until Nov. 14, after offseason surgery on both of his shoulders.
Patrick Beverley missed his fourth straight game because of a sore right groin injury but was still scheduled to compete in the skills challenge at All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
Rivers said he likes what he has seen from the Clippers (37-18) despite having to use several starting lineups due to injuries and having a full roster available for only four games this season. The Clippers, along with the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, have used an NBA-most 27 different starting lineups. But Rivers knows the team needs a stretch of games where it is fully healthy.
“We had a first half of the season where we basically had more starting lineups than probably anybody in the league,” Rivers said. “Our record is pretty solid.
“We got to get healthy. That’s going to be the key for us. And then we got to play multiple games in a row as a group so we can kind of get some continuity. But other than that, I love our spirit, I love how we are. We’re good.”