Chauncey Billups put his right thumb down when asked whether he was playing Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, his sore right groin too painful for the 35-year-old guard to play in the Clippers’ home opener at Staples Center on Friday night.
When the players were introduced, Billups limped onto the court wearing a suit.
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Billups “tweaked” his groin during the San Antonio game Wednesday night. Del Negro said Billups didn’t practice much Thursday.
Billups played in the first two games, averaging 16 points.
“We want to be smart about it,” Del Negro said. “It’s a long season. We’re just starting this.
“We’d love to have him out there, but we have to be smart about it and make sure he doesn’t injure it any worse so he’s out a significant amount of time.”
Del Negro said Billups will be a “day-to-day situation.”
The Clippers play Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers at home and Wednesday at home against the Houston Rockets.
“You have to be careful with groins and hamstrings,” Del Negro said. “He’s got a couple of years under his belt, so we want to be smart with him like we would with anybody, but especially someone that has his type of experience.”
Mo Williams started in place of Billups in the backcourt with Chris Paul.
Role players adjusting
The season is early, but it’s still taking time for Williams, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes and Brian Cook to find out exactly what their roles are.
They are the Clippers’ primary reserves.
Williams has started at point guard most of his career and was the starter last season when he was acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Baron Davis.
Gomes started a lot last season but is behind newcomer Caron Butler. Cook is the third frontcourt player for the Clippers.
“There’s going to be plenty of time for guys with the schedule that we have to deal with,” Del Negro said. “Everyone is going to have to be ready and know what the game plan is and go out and execute and do their jobs.”
Evans still on the mend
Del Negro said power forward Reggie Evans is at least a week to 10 days away from being able to play because of a sprained right foot.
Del Negro said the idea is for Evans to do some shooting on the court soon.
“But we’ll be cautious on that,” Del Negro said. “He has a little bit of a ligament in his ankle that’s been kind of swollen, kind of bothersome.’