These Clippers are hurting as they head home
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Midway through the second half Wednesday, the Clippers bench looked like a hospital waiting room.
Mo Williams was dealing with a right forearm contusion. Eric Bledsoe had a left elbow contusion. And Nick Young’s right (shooting) thumb was sprained.
The three of them sustained their bumps and bruises during the Clippers’ 105-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night in Game 2 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series. The series is tied, 1-1.
As they were being tended to on the bench, there sat, in fine suits, former starting small forward Caron Butler, who is out with a fractured left hand, and former starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups, who is out with a left torn Achilles’ tendon.
Aside from Billups’, all of those injuries were sustained during the team’s two games here against the Grizzlies, known for their physical, grinding style.
“That’s what they do,” Bledsoe said. “They’re real physical. We’ve just got to get used to it.”
Williams, Bledsoe and Young are each considered day to day. Williams said an X-ray on his forearm came back negative. When asked if they’d be able to play in Game 3 on Saturday at Staples Center, each player said he expected to be healthy enough.
“Hopefully everybody will be OK because there isn’t anybody left,” said Chris Paul, who has been dealing with a mild groin sprain.
Said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro: “We’ll tape them up and see who can go the next game. We’ve got a few days in between, so hopefully they can heal up fast. We’re going to need everybody.”
It’s not unusual for teams that face Memphis to leave with an injury or two. They don’t call the team’s style of play “grit and grind” and their arena “The Grindhouse” out of happenstance.
“It’s just part of the game,” Del Negro said. “It’s going to be physical. They’ve got to get ready.”
Still, the Clippers are getting to be a little short on bodies. With Butler out, Bobby Simmons started and Young was expected to be the spark plug off the bench.
Yet when he injured his thumb late in the second half, he just wasn’t the same. Young finished with 11 points and made all three of his three-point shots, but at one point he removed the tape on his sprained thumb because it was affecting his shot.
“It’s sore, but no excuses,” Young said. “I’m glad it’s not broken, though.”
The Clippers can only hope that each of the three players hurt Wednesday isn’t dealing with anything serious. If so, their chances against a physical Memphis team might have taken a serious hit.
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