Sprained ankle sidelines Terance Mann for Clippers season opener

Los Angeles Clippers' Terance Mann (14) drives to the basket between Phoenix Suns' Torrey Craig, left, and Deandre Ayton during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

A specific caveat has been applied to every projection for the Clippers' upcoming season: whether they can stay healthy.

A member of their new-look starting lineup has already suffered an injury, before the regular season begins Wednesday at home against Portland. Days after he was announced as the Clippers' fifth starter, Terance Mann will miss the season opener after spraining an ankle Monday during practice, the team said. He hurt the ankle while contesting a shot and landing on a teammate's foot, coach Tyronn Lue said.

Lue did not express long-term concern over Mann's availability and said the team, given its history of injuries, has increasingly designed its offense and defense to make its role players interchangeable.

The Clippers started Mann in the first preseason game. They also started Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum in exhibitions that followed but settled on starting Mann — along with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac and Russell Westbrook — because of what Lue called his defensive versatility.

In an optimistic update offered by the team, guard Bones Hyland is available for the season opener.

Hyland, the backup point guard, injured his ankle in the team's final preseason game last week.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.