LA Clippers dealt devastating blow to their NBA Finals chances

How much will the latest injury to Russell Westbrook impact the LA Clippers' chances of making the NBA Finals?

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The LA Clippers suffer a devastating blow to their NBA Finals chances with the injury to Russell Westbrook.

The LA Clippers scored a big win over the Washington Wizards Friday night as they snapped a rough stretch in which they had lost five of eight games. However, they may have suffered an even bigger picture loss in the process. The Clippers will have to survive the next few weeks, at the very least, without the presence of Russell Westbrook.

After leaving Friday night's game against the Wizards with a hand injury, it's now being reported that Westbrook has officially suffered a fractured left hand, an injury that will likely keep him off the floor for an extended period of time.

There's currently no timetable for Westbrook yet and that will likely be determined once they carve out a plan of action for a rehab plan is agreed upon. However, the expectation is that he will likely miss a few weeks at the very least. And with just six weeks before the start of the NBA Playoffs, there's at least an outside chance that he could end up missing the remainder of the year.

At the very least, the timetable that is likely going to be given over the next few days is something to keep a close eye on. LA's shot at making a deep playoff run in the Western Conference could very well depend on it.

The LA Clippers will feel the loss of Russell Westbrook

Even though Westbrook is not a starter anymore, his presence, leadership (both on and off the floor), and production off the bench will be missed. For a team that already doesn't have a ton of depth, the loss of Westbrook could be even greater than many realize.

Westbrook began the season as a starter for the Clippers but was transitioned to a bench role shortly after the acquisition of James Harden. Before the hand injury, Westbrook was averaging 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 45 percent shooting from the field off the bench for LA.

The Clippers are one of the most talented teams in the league and have been playing as such for the past three months, but their chances of winning at all have always been tied to their ability to remain healthy. The injury to Westbrook could be the type of loss that could have an impact on their title chances.

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But if Westbrook can return sooner than later, there's still a chance the Clippers emerge as a real dark horse threat to win the Western Conference.