The reserve guard said after the team’s shoot-around Wednesday that he had been cleared to return against the Oklahoma City Thunder later in the day at Staples Center.
Rivers missed 10 games after being hit on the hand during a game Feb. 3 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had two fingers taped on the hand to prevent aggravating some sprained muscles and said he might wear a protective gel pad over the area where he had experienced the hairline fracture.
Rivers said his shooting and conditioning weren’t a concern because he had been working out on the court for a week.
“The biggest thing is just to play hard; it kind of trumps everything,” Rivers said. “If you play hard, you’ll just find your way. I’m just ready to go, man.”
Rivers said he probably could have played against the Nets on Monday but wanted to gain more confidence in his hand, so he went one-on-one with teammates and repeatedly drove to his left to mimic his normal movements.
“I needed like two or three days of physical one-on-one to really test my hand,” Rivers said. “So now that I’ve done that, I know my hand is ready to go.”
Rivers confirmed teammate Blake Griffin’s account of being “very close” to returning after watching the star power forward work out Wednesday.
“He looked like he was normal out there,” Rivers said of Griffin, who has been out since Christmas because of a quadriceps injury and a broken right hand. “He was shooting it like Blake shoots it, from that mid-range. He was rolling to the basket, jumping high. He looked pretty good, so he’s got to be pretty close.”