NBA fans in shock over Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard 'disaster'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard, pictured here in action in the NBA Playoffs.
Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard have both been ruled out for indefinite periods. Image: Getty

NBA fans are reeling after Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard were both ruled out of the playoffs for indefinite periods on Wednesday.

The Phoenix Suns' veteran superstar Paul was forced to enter the NBA's health and safety protocols, sidelining him "for an indefinite period of time".

'ALL-TIME GREAT': Kevin Durant masterclass stuns NBA fans

'SHOULD BE EJECTED': Ben Simmons hard foul sparks NBA debate

It is unclear whether Paul will be available for the start of the Western Conference finals next week, with the Suns saying his status will be evaluated again on Saturday. 

The earliest possible start date for the West finals is Sunday, but that series schedule is contingent on when the other West semi-final between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers ends.

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Paul has been vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he could be cleared to return more quickly than some who tested positive earlier this season before vaccines were readily available.

It wasn't uncommon for players who entered the protocols to miss two weeks or more.

Veteran NBA reporter Shams Charania sent a scare through Suns fans on Wednesday when he said Paul would be "sidelined for an indefinite period of time".

"My faith isn't going to waver now because we've had a few obstacles," Suns coach Monty Williams said on Wednesday. 

"We've had obstacles all season long and gotten through a lot of stuff. You look forward to these challenges, you embrace them and you move forward."

Phoenix practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday without Paul, starting the process of getting ready for a West finals berth now accompanied with even more uncertainty than first thought.

Chris Paul and Phoenix Suns teammates, pictured here before a game against the Denver Nuggets.
Chris Paul and Phoenix Suns teammates enter the arena before a game against the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Suns don't know who they'll play, when they'll play, where the series will start and aren't sure if their 10-time All-NBA point guard will be ready.

Williams said the Suns are handling the emotional ebbs and flows, from the highs of sweeping Denver in the second round to reach the West final to the news that Paul's status is in doubt, as well as can be expected.

"One of the things we've said, if you're nutty enough to listen to me around here, we're just going to do the next right thing," Williams said.

"And that's focus on the next practice, the next film session. I just left our gym and the spirit was unreal. 

"Our guys understand that we've dealt with stuff this year, other teams have dealt with it, it's just part of the NBA."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

LA Clippers suffer massive Kawhi Leonard blow

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out of Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals on Wednesday with what the Clippers are calling a sprained knee. 

A person with knowledge of the matter said Leonard will need more testing and evaluation, raising questions about his availability going forward.

The structural integrity of Leonard's knee has yet to be fully determined, the person said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. 

A sprain, by definition, is a ligament injury, though the Clippers have not said which of the four knee ligaments is the cause for concern.

"There is no timetable for his return," the Clippers said.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

After Wednesday's game in Salt Lake City, the series resumes with Game 6 on Friday in Los Angeles. Game 7, if necessary, is back in Salt Lake City on Sunday.

Even in the short term, it is a massive blow for the Clippers - who split the first four games of their series with the top-seeded Jazz and are trying to reach the West finals for the first time in franchise history.

Leonard is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and is averaging 30.4 points on 57% shooting in the playoffs.

The Clippers were 11-9 without Leonard during the regular season. They're 6-1 so far in the playoffs when he scores at least 28 points and 0-4 otherwise.

with Associated Press

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting