Los Angeles

Clippers guard Russell Westbrook breaks left hand in first half against Wizards

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Russell Westbrook fractured his left hand in the first half of the Los Angeles Clippers’ 140-115 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Westbrook, 35, appeared to sustain the injury trying to poke the ball away from Jordan Poole with 10:01 left in the second. He left with 8:10 remaining in the second quarter and did not return.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue did not have an immediate timetable for how long Westbrook will be out.

“I just feel bad for Russ right now,” Lue said. “You never want to see a player get hurt. … I don’t know if he needs surgery or anything yet, but he’s out right now, so just trying to figure it out.”

Westbrook had six points and one assist in 10 minutes off the bench. He has played in every game for the Clippers this season, averaging 11.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 23 minutes. He had moved to the bench following the Nov. 1 trade for James Harden but remained an important part of the lineup.

Harden said the team will miss Westbrook, specifically noting the loss of “his athleticism, his energy, his playmaking ability, leadership.”

In Westbrook’s absence, the Clippers will turn to Bones Hyland and Brandon Boston Jr. to handle backup point guard duties. Hyland, drafted 26th overall by Denver in 2021 before the Clippers acquired him in a trade last February, had two points and seven assists in 16 minutes against Washington. Boston, who had seven points in five minutes, is in his third season with the Clippers.

“(Hyland) and Brandon, they in a tough position because they behind four Hall of Famers, you know what I mean?” Harden said. “So they just got to continue to work their butt off every single day and opportunities will be available, that’s just the way this league goes.

“If Russ is out for a minute, one of them will get an opportunity to play. Pretty sure they’ll be prepared.”

There are clearly market favorites, but what outsiders could throw their hat into the MVP conversation? Drew Dinsick, host of the “Bet the EDGE” podcast, weighs in.

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