Paul George's mysterious elbow injury is still bothering the Clippers.
That was always going to be the case while star forward Kawhi Leonard rehabbed his ACL, which he had surgically repaired during last year's playoffs, but it's been made worse by a string of pesky injuries to key rotation players.
Only four Clippers have played in all 27 games this season: Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Eric Bledsoe, and Ivica Zubac.
Two have missed significant time, Marcus Morris (16 games) and Nicolas Batum (12 games), while a third, Serge Ibaka, was recovering from back surgery before returning and eventually being removed from the rotation.
Now, the Clippers are dealing with Paul George's persistent elbow injury, which appeared to be minor at first but has now sidelined him for three games, including Monday's game against the Suns, a rematch of the Western Conference finals.
There's some confusion about what's wrong with George--he called his injury a "sprain," while the team refers to it as a contusion.
George is still listed as day-to-day, meaning he could play against Utah on Wednesday, according to coach Ty Lue. However, George has not been practicing, according to Lue.
Because of the Clippers' depth of injuries, there has been no opportunity for Lue to expand his playbook, which he stated he would normally do at this point in the season. However, the Clippers have remained a very simple offensive team due to a lack of continuity.
"Right now, we're just pretty traditional," Lue said before the Suns' game on Monday night.
"We don't really run anything hard. Sometimes less is more, so we really condensed what we've been trying to do offensively so we can get good at something. Normally, you do that after the first 20,25 games to see what our team can run and what we can't run, but with so many injuries and guys being out so much, it's been tough to really figure out what we're good at."
The Clippers have some roster stability, which should allow them to maintain play-calling consistency from year to year.
In the absence of George, the team's starting five have all been with the team for at least two seasons.
The issue is that the Clippers' bench is entirely made up of rookies.
Terance Mann can anchor that group when everyone is healthy, but he has been in the starting five without George.
Eric Bledsoe, who was acquired in an offseason trade, has been the sixth man, while Brandon Boston, a rookie second-round pick, has made a name for himself in the last week, particularly with a standout performance against Boston.
Justise Winslow, a veteran defensive winger, and Isaiah Hartenstein, a center, are also expected to see time off the bench.
It's not a bad group, but without Mann, none of the Clippers' second-unit players have played with the team before this season, further eroding the team's attempts at consistency.