Clippers center Serge Ibaka to miss season opener

Clippers center Serge Ibaka looks to pass during a game last season.
Clippers center Serge Ibaka looks to pass during a game last season. He’ll miss the season opener as he works his way into playing shape following back surgery.
(Matthew Hinton / Associated Press)

Clippers center Serge Ibaka played five-on-five basketball in front of fans for the first time since June during Sunday’s open practice at USC’s Galen Center and his next time could be coming soon, but not by the season opener at Golden State on Thursday night.

Ibaka is “doing everything he can to come back when he can,” coach Tyronn Lue said Tuesday. Ibaka, who had season-ending back surgery during the playoffs, had been cleared for five-on-five contact drills last week.

“Being able to take the contact after running and being fatigued, playing full-court five-on-five and then being able to take the pounding as well,” Lue said. “That’s something [medical staffers] have to gauge out.”

Also on the practice court Tuesday was injured star Kawhi Leonard, shooting baskets three months after his knee surgery.

“He’s also been in our coaches’ meeting a couple of times,” Lue said. “I think he wants to be a coach.”


Does Lue actually see Leonard one day coaching?

“Nah,” he said. “He has too much money to coach.”

The NBA’s 75th anniversary season begins Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a pair of games, including Lakers vs. Warriors. Here is the L.A. Times’ coverage.

Oct. 18, 2021