Clippers’ Matt Barnes to play Saturday against Denver Nuggets
When Matt Barnes walked out onto the Los Angeles Clippers’ court before practice started Friday to begin some shooting drills, he wore dark goggles, sort of a Terminator-look for the small forward.
Barnes has missed 16 games recovering from surgery on his left eye for a torn retina, but Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Barnes would play Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
And, no, Barnes won’t be wearing those shaded goggles, but he will wear a clear pair when he plays to protect his eye.
“I think it’ll be good,” Rivers said. “First of all, I think Matt is our best cutter [to the basket]. So that’ll give us some of that again. And I think right now, when I go semi-small, I can go with [Antawn Jamison] or Stephen [Jackson], and Stephen and Matt being together defensively could be really good.”
Barnes has been out almost a month recovering from three procedures on his eye. He was injured Nov. 18 when he was inadvertently hit in the eye by Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph.
It has been a tough season for Barnes. He has played in just eight games this season because he had a bruised right thigh before being sidelined from his eye injury.
Barnes is averaging 5.9 points in 20.0 minutes per game in the games he’s played.
Rivers said he told Barnes to suit up for the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
“But I had no plans on playing him,” Rivers said. “I told him, ‘Listen, you just never know. I’ll throw you in. I have no fear of that.’ But I didn’t want to. He worked out [Thursday]. We brought in four of the guys just to run him through stuff. Then he gets a real practice today. So that’ll be good.”
Shooting guard J.J. Redick still had a cast on his hand at practice Friday. He is recovering from a broken right hand and torn ligaments in the right side of his wrist.
Rivers said Redick is expected to get the cast off “Monday or Tuesday.”
“The problem with that thing is atrophy,” Rivers said of the effect on Redick’s return. “What was his target date? The 10th or the 15th [of January], somewhere in that area. I don’t think that has changed one way or the other.”
If he returns by Jan. 10, it would mean Redick would play against the Lakers in the Clippers’ designated home game at Staples Center.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.