Clippers' Matt Barnes has slow start in return from injury

Clippers forward Matt Barnes said he was injured five weeks before training camp began in October, and that’s what put him behind even before L.A. went to La Jolla to train.

But Barnes played in his first exhibition of the season against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on Friday night after missing the first seven with a sore left calf.

He had four points and fouled out in the third quarter after playing just 20 minutes, 47 seconds.

Barnes said after the initial injury healed right before camp started, he got hurt again two days into training camp.

He got his first real good practice Thursday after missing games and practices for about three weeks.

“So, it’s been like a good two months since I’ve really got to play basketball,” Barnes said. “It’ll take a little bit. But like I’ve said, I have to keep working on my conditioning and just find the balance in my shot. I missed some open shots, but I really don’t have any worries.”

Barnes missed all five of his shots, all three of his three-pointers. He was four-for-four from the free-throw line.

“My body felt good,” Barnes said. “I felt like I was running good. I used up all my fouls.”

The Clippers need Barnes to help fortify the second unit.

“I thought Matt looked great,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “He missed some open shots, which happens when you miss seven games and come back.”

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