Clippers Lose Manning, Then Game to Bucks : Rookie Suffers Hyperextended Knee During First Quarter of 110-102 Defeat
The call for help went out in the second quarter, from Clipper assistant coach Don Casey on the sidelines here to General Manager Elgin Baylor in Los Angeles:
Someone to replace the National Basketball Assn.'s No. 1 draft pick would be nice. Not that the Clippers will be too demanding.
They can’t afford to be. Their biggest loss Wednesday night wasn’t on the court, where they dropped their 14th game in 18 tries, 110-102, to the Milwaukee Bucks before a crowd of 15,287.
It was in the locker room, where Danny Manning, who is tied for first on the team in scoring and who is third on the team in rebounding, was preparing for an unexpected flight home, with his right knee causing him pain every time he straightened his leg.
The Clippers have three more stops on this journey through the Eastern Conference--Indiana, New York and Boston--but Manning got a quick trip home because of what Dr. David Haskell, the Bucks’ orthopedic consultant, diagnosed as a hyperextended knee. X-rays will be taken today, but the good news for the Clippers is that there apparently is no ligament damage.
“It’s not a good feeling,” said Manning, who suffered a similar injury to the knee while practicing at the 1987 Pan-American Games. “But I was able to put some type of pressure on it, so I know it’s not that bad. At least, I hope not.”
Manning, who wore a brace on his leg from the lower part of the shin to his upper thigh, was hurt with 1:18 to play in the first quarter and the Clippers already in pain with a 10-point deficit. After he scored on a layup that cut the Milwaukee lead to 27-17, he landed straight-legged.
Manning said the pain was sharp and he heard something pop. He hobbled to the bench, where he was given a quick check by trainer Bernie LaReau and then was taken to the locker room.
“In the Pan-Ams, I did it and kept practicing,” said Manning, who had averaged 20.8 points in the previous 5 games. “I tried to run back after I hurt it, but . . . “
As so often is the case with the Clippers, misery has company:
--Greg Kite will go with the team to Indianapolis, sort of. X-rays taken Wednesday supported an earlier diagnosis that Kite, who was hit in the face by Bill Cartwright’s elbow in Tuesday night’s loss at Chicago, did not suffer a broken right cheekbone. But doctors are concerned that fluid buildup in his left sinus cavity, a side effect of the injury and a broken nose 3 years ago, might be very painful or damaging when combined with the altitude pressure of a flight, so he will bus with the Clippers to Chicago today and then will go the rest of the way to Indianapolis on his own by train or car.
--Charles Smith, who has the flu and a strep throat, will join the team for Friday’s game against the Pacers, probably. He was expected to meet the Clippers Tuesday in Chicago but didn’t, and then Wednesday in Milwaukee but didn’t.
--Reggie Williams was to join Manning on the flight to Los Angeles because Williams’ wife, Kathy, will undergo surgery. Williams expects to play in Sunday’s game in New York.
Because of Manning’s uncertain status, the Clippers are not sure yet whether to try to fill the roster spot with a quick-fix 10-day contract. Their best bet, if they do, would be forward Dave Popson, who played 14 games with the team earlier this season before being cut Dec. 8.
Ken Norman led the Clippers with 24 points, after getting 27 at Chicago the night before. He also had 11 rebounds. Terry Cummings scored 27 for the Bucks and Larry Krystkowiak added 23. . . . The Bucks’ advantage was as high as 24 midway through the third quarter before the Clippers came back to make it competitive. . . . Clipper Quintin Dailey said: “The game was very physical. I felt like a ping-pong ball out there. I got marks on my back from getting hammered under the basket. We were coming at them hard in the fourth quarter, but we didn’t get any calls underneath. When we we get the Bucks in L.A., we’ll have something for them.”
This was the first game Greg Kite has ever missed--high school, college or professional--because of injury. He said he is probable for Friday’s game at Indiana. . . . Clipper forward Joe Wolf, who is from Kohler, Wis., approximately 60 miles north of Milwaukee, had a 188-member cheering section on hand. Wolf played well, getting 10 rebounds and 8 points. . . . As the Clippers fell to 2-16 away from the Sports Arena, their road losing streak against Eastern Conference teams reached 30. The last win was Feb. 23, 1986, in New York.