"The panic is outside the locker room," Rivers said before his team's 115-98 victory over the
Rivers recounted how his 2009-10
There were also last season's Clippers, who went 12-6 while point guard
"You don't panic," Rivers said. "All you have to do is look at history."
The present seemed a little easier to accept for the Clippers after they learned a more definitive timetable for Griffin's return. Rivers said Griffin could resume conditioning in about 10 days, potentially avoiding a longer absence.
If Griffin was sidelined for three weeks, he would be out 10 games.
"If he misses any amount of time," Clippers shooting guard
The Clippers have a how-to manual for dealing with the absence of a star. They played some of their best basketball last season when Paul missed 18 games, getting step-up performances from Griffin and a handful of other players.
Rivers said the Clippers would sign another player to a 10-day contract but would wait until after the All-Star break to do so because the weeklong break counts against the length of the contract.
The Clippers benefited from the fact Griffin's injury occurred shortly before the break, but not from its coming during a portion of their schedule in which 10 of their next 14 games will be against teams on pace to make the playoffs.
"You can't look at it like that or you'll psych yourself out," Crawford said of the tough schedule. "It's like shooting percentages or anything else. You just have to play the game and take it one day at a time."
Griffin's injury is only the latest to afflict several playoff contenders in the Western Conference. Dallas'
Rivers ascribed the widespread injuries to a season that has included more games in fewer days because of the extended All-Star break.
"You just felt like this would be an injury year and unfortunately it is," Rivers said. "It's going to affect everybody. That's why you just can't overreact. The key is if somehow everybody's healthy during the playoffs, then that's what matters and that's when it's going to count."
Of course, teams have to get there first. The Clippers (34-19) started Monday in sixth place in the West standings and are now 1-1 without Griffin after their triumph over the Mavericks ended a season-high four-game losing streak.
The Clippers seemed pleased with the news that Griffin could be back within a month.
"I think all things considered it's a positive," said forward-center