Clippers center Serge Ibaka underwent back surgery in Los Angeles on Thursday and will miss the remainder of the playoffs, the team said in a news release Friday.
Ibaka, 31, is expected to make a full recovery, the Clippers said.
In posts on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Ibaka expressed regret that he can’t join the Clippers in their postseason push – they currently trail the top-seeded Utah Jazz, 2-0, in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series – but wrote that health has to be his top priority.
“There is nothing I would love more than being on the court helping my brothers and trying to win a championship for #ClipperNation,” Ibaka wrote. “It’s been a very tough season, I worked very hard to be back in time for the Playoffs.”
“Sometimes injuries get in the way and health has to be a priority. I appreciate all the love and support from everyone and now I have my mindset on supporting my team and getting healthy and ready for next season.”
Ibaka signed a two-year $19 million deal with the team during free agency last November, teaming up again with his former Toronto Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard, with whom he won an NBA championship in 2019. The second year of Ibaka’s contract is a player option.
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Ibaka missed 30 games this season with what the Clippers called “back tightness” before returning for the final two regular-season games, after the first of which he said he’d experienced a pinched nerve in his back.
In the postseason, he played 12 minutes, 47 seconds in Game 1 of the Clippers’ first-round series against Dallas and then just 5:35 in Game 2 before being ruled out since with back spasms.
In 41 games this season, his 11th in the NBA, Ibaka averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds and shot 51% from the field.
While the Clippers were on the road in the postseason, Ibaka has been active cheering on his teammates online, including engaging with fans about his so-called “voodoo room” in an effort to bring the team an extra boost in the first round. On Thursday, he also tweeted support for Reggie Jackson – “Reggie Jacksonville,” he wrote, with a flexing biceps emoji – who led the Clippers with 29 points in a loss.
… sometimes injuries get in the way and health …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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