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Maggette, Mobley likely to be sidelined

Times Staff Writer

The snakebitten Clippers were chomped on once again.

Leading scorer Corey Maggette probably will be sidelined for two to three weeks while recovering from a strained right hamstring, the team learned Monday.

The Clippers are also considering resting swingman Cuttino Mobley until his strained groin heals. Quinton Ross (bruised right knee) and Al Thornton (sprained right ankle) will be game-time decisions Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.

The injuries come as the Clippers (5-4) prepare for their toughest stretch of the early season. After playing the Nuggets, they close out the month against the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets and Denver again.

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“When it rains, it thunderstorms,” point guard Sam Cassell said.

Losing forward Maggette is a significant blow to the team, already without the injured Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston and trying to end a slide where they have lost four of five games.

Maggette is averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds and was already playing despite a bruised tailbone from the exhibition season. He aggravated that injury against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 7 after a hard fall and bruised his knee in the same game.

Athletic trainer Jasen Powell said the tailbone bruise probably caused his hamstring to be overworked.

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“During the course of the season, you can’t get the adequate type of strength work you want to get done to probably eliminate some of the ongoing, chronic game-by-game wear and tear,” he said.

Mobley, who originally injured his groin against Indiana, said he is only about 70% healthy.

He started the season by providing a spark off the bench and making clutch shots.

But in the three games he has played since returning, Mobley’s numbers have dropped, with the injury limiting his mobility.

“It’s funny when you can see that you can change the game if you were healthy,” he said. “And you are out there and you see things, but you can’t do anything. It’s like your brain wants do one thing when your body can’t.”

The team said it is close to keeping him out until he recovers.

“The good thing is, it’s early in the season, so if I do sit down, I can catch up,” Mobley said. “You don’t want to dig yourself a hole either. It’s a Catch-22 on that one.”

Thornton replaced Maggette on Friday and sprained his ankle after leaping for a rebound and landing on the shoe of Warriors forward Al Harrington. Ross aggravated his knee injury Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.

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“Right now, we have to deal with it the way it comes,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Unfortunately, we’ve kind of been hit at the same position at the same time. It’s been all our wings.”

Dunleavy said that point guards Cassell and Dan Dickau could get time at shooting guard. Ruben Patterson, nursing a dislocated right pinkie, will continue starting at small forward.

In the meantime, Dunleavy said the team will focus on shot selection and limiting turnovers.

“When you are depleted, you don’t want to play as many possessions as when you are healthy,” he said. “That’s the adage. The more talented team wants to play the more possessions because you have more opportunities to be better.”

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com


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