Sports

Clippers' Jamal Crawford aims to return in regular-season game

Los Angeles ClippersSportsJamal CrawfordJ.J. RedickLos Angeles Lakers

Jamal Crawford said he wants to be back playing in a regular-season game with the Clippers, who have only three games left before the playoffs start next weekend.

Crawford couldn't say whether he is aiming to be back for Saturday's game against Sacramento, Tuesday's game against Denver or Wednesday's season finale at Portland.

He missed his fifth consecutive game with a strained left calf.

"I'm trying to have positive thoughts," Crawford said. "I'm optimistic with the rehab that we have been doing and that I can come back. I don't have an exact game. When my body says it's OK and it feels like it's time, then I'll do it. But I'm pretty confident that it'll be before the playoffs start."

Crawford missed three games with the injury before coming back to play in one game.

Then Crawford missed five consecutive games before playing the next five. He felt the calf get tight at Houston on March 29 and hasn't played since.

"The calf is tricky," Crawford said. "I was out and came back, went back out. I'm trying to eliminate all that. So I just want to come back when I can go. It's getting close, though. I'm feeling better."

Redick making progress

Two months passed before J.J. Redick played in a basketball game for the Clippers. Two months before Redick's bulging disk in his lower back healed. Two months for him wonder whether he would play in another game this season.

So when Redick finally returned, his mental and physical had to play catch .

He had missed 25 consecutive games, last playing Feb. 3 at Denver.

"Any time you come back from an injury, it's the mental aspect of it as well as the physical," Redick said. "It's just having confidence in your body that it's going to respond the right way. I felt like even from Thursday to Sunday, my body made progress. So that gave me a lot of confidence. Hopefully going forward I'll continue to not take any steps back."

Redick was back in the starting lineup the last two games — against the Lakers on Sunday and Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

"I think being able to practice and the way the schedule is right now, we're going to have some practices before the end of the year mixed in with some games," Redick said. "I think that'll definitely help."

Etc.

Matt Barnes missed the last two days of practice with strep throat, but he started Wednesday night.

"I'm not feeling better," Barnes said. "But I'm going to gut it out."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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Los Angeles ClippersSportsJamal CrawfordJ.J. RedickLos Angeles Lakers
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