After seeing both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul go down with injuries during their game four defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, the Los Angeles Clippers' worst fears were recognised on Tuesday.
As reported by Yahoo! Sports, neither Griffin or Paul will be returning for the first round series that is now finely balanced at 2-2 after the extent of their injuries was confirmed last night.
Griffin, who re-aggravated the left quad injury that had cost him so much of the regular season, has already been ruled out for the entirety of the 2016 playoffs - no matter how far the Clippers progress.
Chris Paul, meanwhile, is currently listed as "out indefinitely" after having undergone surgery on a broken right hand on Monday.
The news is a huge blow for the Clippers. Just a few days ago, up 2-1 over Portland and with the news that Stephen Curry would likely miss the majority, if not all, of a potential Western Conference Semi Final series coming through, the franchise's playoff prospects were looking good.
Now, Doc Rivers' team are coming off the back of consecutive defeats to the Trail Blazers and will now have to contest the remainder of the series without arguably their two best players.
Losing Paul in such freak fashion is a particularly tough loss for the Clippers. The multi-time All-Star had been in typically impressive form in recent games, averaging 23.8 points, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 31.3 minutes so far this postseason before fracturing a bone in his hand defending a lay-up attempt in game four.
The Clippers had learned to play without Griffin during the regular campaign. Nevertheless, replacing the 15 points and 8.8 rebounds he was providing this series will be a difficult task. Losing both players at such a crucial time of the season will test the franchise's roster to its limits.
Ahead of Wednesday night's game five, it has been announced that Austin Rivers will replace Paul as the Clippers' starting point guard while Yahoo is reporting that Jeff Green has been given the responsibility of replacing Griffin in the lineup.
A lot of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Reddick, you would imagine.
Despite slipping to back-to-back defeats in recent days, the Clippers still retain home advantage against Portland in what is effectively now a three-game series.
Whether the team is mentally strong enough (and physically capable of) overcoming the setbacks of the past 24 hours, however, remains to be seen.