Clippers look to build off victory despite injuries to key starters

Blake Griffin looks to drive against Dewayne Dedmon of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

The Clippers are short on bodies because injuries have taken a toll on the team, but coach Doc Rivers said he will not try to hasten the return of any of his players before they are completely healed.

Starting small forward Danilo Gallinari, who missed his ninth straight game with a strained left glute, is closer to returning than starting point guard Milos Teodosic, who missed his 16th straight game with plantar fasciitis on his left foot.

Rivers said Gallinari has to be fully healthy before he can take the court again.

He has been on this five-game trip and has worked out some, but he’s still not ready to play.


“Gallo is not coming back until he’s right,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to rush anybody back. I don’t care what situation you’re in. Not only is it going to make it worse, because then he’ll come back and get injured, or any of our guys. That’s one thing we’ll never do.”

Gallinari said Monday that he hoped to be back in seven to 10 days.

Teodosic is not expected back until after Christmas.

Meanwhile, point guard Patrick Beverley is out for the rest of the season after having right knee surgery.

The shorthanded Clippers are trying to make it with what they have, using rookie guards Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans to help the team along.

Passing the ball

When the Clippers broke their nine-game losing streak against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, watching L.A. pass the ball was one thing that stood out.

The Clippers had a season-high 30 assists.

Blake Griffin had 10 and Lou Williams had eight.

The ball movement obviously was the best it had been all season.

“They were looking for each other,” Rivers said. “It was film, losing. At some point, you make a decision, either you’re going to play right and do the right stuff or you’re going to keep losing. And I think as a group that’s what we decided to do.”

Twitter: @BA_Turner