Derrick Collins and Scott Foster may owe Austin Rivers an apology.
The NBA referees called the Clippers guard for back-to-back technical fouls in a matter of seconds Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves after Rivers complained about no foul being called on Andre Miller despite contact on Rivers' driving layup early in the second quarter.
It turned out Rivers had broken his left hand on the play, just about the last thing the Clippers needed with All-Star power forward Blake Griffin already sidelined by a broken right hand.
"I went to the lane, and something, either an elbow or something, hit me just dead in the middle of my hand," Rivers said Friday, one day before an MRI exam revealed the extent of an injury that is expected to sideline him from four to six weeks.
Rivers initially thought he had only bruised the hand after X-rays were negative, but continued discomfort prompted him to go for further testing. He returned to Los Angeles on Sunday and will be evaluated by a hand specialist Monday.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers would not say whether he felt his team had enough depth to sustain another serious injury without making a move to fortify the roster.
"We're getting thin, obviously, but somebody else will just have to pick up the slack for right now," Rivers said before the Clippers defeated the Miami Heat, 100-93, at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Doc Rivers said any move might hinge on whether backup guard Pablo Prigioni remained healthy. Prigioni sustained a facial bruise Friday against the Orlando Magic but played against the Heat, getting two points, two assists and one steal in 14 minutes.
"You're one of those [injuries] away from not having another guard," Doc Rivers said, "so we may have to make a decision but we're just going to try to ride it out and see."
Jamal Crawford has played some backup point guard with Austin Rivers out, and Lance Stephenson has received a bump in playing time.
Griffin is expected to be sidelined well into March and faces a suspension from the NBA after punching a team assistant equipment manager on Jan. 23 in Toronto. The league took 2 1/2 months to announce a two-game suspension for Memphis forward Matt Barnes after an altercation with New York Coach Derek Fisher, but a person with knowledge of the situation said an announcement of Griffin's punishment is expected before the All-Star break.
"We're not going two months, I can tell you that," Rivers said. "Hopefully it'll be done pretty soon."
Best of both worlds?
Jeff Ayres will get to compete in the Development League All-Star game after all.
"The D-League and the NBA did some talking," Ayres said, "and the D-League wanted to do it."
There had been some concern that the Clippers reserve forward would be ineligible for the midseason showcase Saturday in Toronto if he remained on an NBA roster, but his second 10-day contract expires Friday.
That will allow Ayres to play in his first All-Star game since his National Junior Basketball days in middle school. The only question is whether the Clippers will re-sign him for the rest of the season afterward because they may need the roster spot for another point guard after the injury to Austin Rivers.
"That would be a perfect scenario," Ayres said of being re-signed, "to go play in the All-Star game, come back, enjoy the rest of the break and then, boom, right back to it and not have to worry about packing my stuff anymore and moving around."
CLIPPERS AT PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
When: Monday, 4 p.m. PST.
Where: Wells Fargo Center.
On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: 76ers 8-43; Clippers 34-17.
Record vs. 76ers (2014-15): 2-0.
Update: Philadelphia possesses the NBA's worst record but has been playing almost .500 basketball for the last three weeks, going 4-6 over its last 10 games. The 76ers' starting front line of Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel combined for 40 points Saturday during a 103-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center.