Nuggets Clippers injury report: Is Nikola Jokic playing? Jamal Murray? Kawhi Leonard?

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Denver Nuggets enter Thursday’s action with a 53-23 record, having just six games left to play in the 2023-24 regular season. The Nuggets are in a dead tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the top seed in the Western Conference, just a game up on the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have lost consecutive games.

Every remaining game is vital for Denver’s pursuit of homecourt advantage, but their opponent on Thursday has a lot to play for as well. The Los Angeles Clippers are 47-28, good for fourth place in the West. They are two games up on the Mavericks and 2.5 games up on the Pelicans, and would desperately like to have homecourt advantage for that first-round matchup.

But as critical as these games are for seeding, these two teams are far more concerned with health. The Nuggets know they can beat any team in any venue as long as they are at full strength. They’ve been dealing with key injuries lately, and would happily sacrifice the top seed if it meant a fully healthy squad for round one.

Similarly, the Clippers are led by proven winner Kawhi Leonard. This team ripped off a 25-5 run this season when they showed they can be the class of the NBA when the team is healthy and firing on all cylinders. Staying on the court has been the biggest knock on this team ever since it was assembled four years ago.

So it will be interesting to watch how these teams play it down the stretch and what they prioritize. When healthy, they’re two of the favorites out West, but it remains to be seen if they can get there.

Nuggets injury report

Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon have been dealing with various nicks and bruises, but both are listed as ‘Probable’ and expected to play through their minor issues. Jokic said his wrist was in pain, but playing won’t make it worse. He’s certainly looked fine the last two times out. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here.

Jamal Murray has now missed five games in a row with ankle and knee injuries and he is listed as ‘Questionable’ yet again for Thursday night. There is clearly real reason for concern here and it would be great to see Murray get back on the court before the playoffs start.

Zeke Nnaji has been upgraded to ‘Doubtful’ with his adductor injury and Vlatko Cancar remains ‘Out’ with a knee injury.

Clippers injury report

Kawhi Leonard has had one of his healthiest seasons in years and his consistency in the lineup has been a huge part of the Clippers’ success. But a report came out the other night that he has some new swelling and soreness in his knee. He is listed as ‘Out’ for the second straight game.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t seem like much, but since it’s Kawhi and given his history, this is a massive story to watch. We’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well for Kawhi and the Clippers. Keep a very close eye on this one over the next week or so. If Leonard is compromised for the playoffs, the Clippers are toast.

Joshua Primo is also ‘Out’ for the Clips with a sprained ankle.

Betting odds

The Nuggets are currently listed as 3.5-point road favorites in this nationally televised contest and the game has a total of 218.5 points.