LA Clippers' Ivica Zubac out for Game 5 of West finals because of sprained MCL

PHOENIX -- The LA Clippers will have to stave off elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals without their starting center, Ivica Zubac.

Zubac was ruled out before Monday night's game against the Phoenix Suns because of a sprained right MCL injury that he suffered in Game 4. The 7-footer was listed as questionable on the injury report Monday afternoon.

Zubac has become a critical role player for the Clippers in the conference finals against Phoenix's Deandre Ayton. Zubac had three straight double-doubles, including 15 points and 16 rebounds in the Clippers' 106-92 win in Game 3. He had 13 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes in the Clippers' 84-80 loss to the Suns in Game 4.

With Zubac out, Clippers coach Ty Lue said DeMarcus Cousins is expected to see more minutes and will be needed offensively.

Lue said that while the team was feeling upbeat at the morning shootaround about overcoming a 3-1 series deficit, players were down when they learned of Zubac's injury.