Everyone was greatly anticipating the playoff debut of Rudy Gobert. The French big man had helped to carry the Utah Jazz to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, and now he would have a national stage against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. Things began swimmingly but ended extremely quickly and extremely abruptly. He didn't stand a chance of even making it to the second possession of the game before leaving with an injury.

The big man goes down

Just seventeen seconds into the match, the injury occurred. The Jazz were running a play, and it appeared a player might have graced the big man's knee, although the contact looked minimal at best.

Whatever it was, it was enough for Gobert to collapse to the ground as a pass was being delivered in his direction by Gordon Hayward. He immediately grabbed for his left knee and started to rise, slowly, before falling back down in obvious pain.

Eventually, Gobert was helped off the court as the Jazz players looked on in stunned disbelief. The immediate concern was that he might have torn his ACL, which would not only end his game and his postseason but would likely bleed into the following year as well. That result appeared to be dodged, though, as it seems he simply suffered a left knee sprain - an injury, but not a hugely significant one. Still, Gobert will not be making another appearance in what was a memorable playoff debut for all the wrong reasons.

What happens next

Gobert had just completed a breakout season for the Jazz, with a Defensive Player of the Year award serving as a possible reward when the honors are announced in a couple of months. His defensive game has always been well-defined, but even his offensive game took steps forward this season.

He led the NBA in blocks for the first time this season and was likely just a spot or two away from making the first All-Star Game of his career.

He was also one of the team's only significant physical advantages in their playoff series against the Clippers. Los Angeles has their interior presence in DeAndre Jordan, but Gobert was going to neutralize him, and then some.

Now, the Jazz will need Hayward to step up, as well as role players George Hill, Joe Ingles, and Boris Diaw. The team's return to the playoffs this year was met with great fanfare initially. Without one of their best players, however, a team that went 51-31 during the regular season could be in line for a quick exit from the postseason.

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