April 14, 2024

The Clippers piled off the bus one by one Saturday afternoon wearing their practice gear, but they were missing an important piece of their team in the injured Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook suffered a fractured left hand during the first half of the Clippers’ victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night at Crypto.com Arena. His status remained the same — he’s out for the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon and is looking at sitting out four to six weeks for an injury of that nature.

The good news for the Clippers is that center Ivica Zubac made the three-game trip. He had sat out the last two games because of an undisclosed illness.

He’s listed as questionable for the game.

“I hope I can play,” Zubac said. “I didn’t come all this way not to play. But I guess it’s up to the medical staff, but I hope I can play.”

Westbrook played in all 58 games this season, and he brought his competitive juices to the game and practices.

The Clippers will miss that, coach Tyronn Lue said before his team practiced Saturday at the Mayo Clinic Square.

“Russ plays every night, so just to see him go through something like this is tough on everybody,” Lue said. “He wants to compete in practice, in games, in everything.”

It means that Bones Hyland, who had played in only 20 games this season because he was out of a deep rotation, will get more playing time. It also means forward Paul George will “handle the ball more.”

“So, we got different guys that can handle the ball and get the ball up and get us into our stuff,” Lue said. “But we miss Russ.”

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