The Clippers got closer to full strength Thursday with the return of J.J. Redick, but it may be the closest they get for a while.
Coach Doc Rivers said Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger may not come back before the postseason from injuries that have sidelined them since late last month. The Clippers have five games left in the regular season after playing the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
“I’d be surprised if we saw either one of them until the playoffs, maybe,” Rivers said. “That’s a concern. That’s where we’re at right now. … Danny most likely will not play until the playoffs. But Jamal, it’s starting to turn that way.”
Granger has not played since March 27 because of a strained left hamstring. Crawford has been out since March 29 because of what has officially been termed a sore left Achilles’ tendon, though Rivers said it’s actually more closely related to the calf injury that had previously sidelined Crawford for eight games.
“I think it’s all the calf,” Rivers said. “I know they use different words and things, but I think at the end of the day it’s the calf injury. I was concerned when it happened because nobody was around. Always scares the heck out of me when a guy gets hurt when nobody’s around. That means it’s your body.
“If I collide with you, it’s simple or major and I can see why. But if I’m just running down the floor and my body gives out, that’s always scared me.”
Rivers said the Clippers would probably mix and match starters with reserves as opposed to using a full unit of second-stringers to preserve the team’s scoring punch.
Crawford is averaging 18.6 points per game, third best on the team, and Granger had averaged 8.0 points after signing with the Clippers in late February.
“He was great,” Rivers said of Granger. “We were finding ways to use him that I didn’t know we could. I thought that we could post him. He hadn’t played in so long, I honestly had forgotten that he shot the ball that well and that easy. And so we started using him in pin-downs. I didn’t have any thought of doing that. So at least he gave us enough of a window to know how to use him.”