Clippers are hit hard with injuries, especially in backcourt
The Clippers are not a healthy team, their starting backcourt and one of their top reserves all dealing with injuries.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul has a strained right hamstring, starting shooting guard J.J. Redick has a sprained right wrist and backup small forward Matt Barnes is recovering from left retina surgery.
Of the three, Paul has the best chance of playing Sunday against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center.
He sat out his first game of the season Friday night at Sacramento, but Paul remains a game-time decision for the game against the Pacers.
“I want to play,” Paul said after Friday’s game. “If can play, I will. If not, I’ll rest it.”
Redick will not play against the Pacers.
Redick was injured in the second quarter of Friday night’s game, when he fell hard onto the court after a midair collision with Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
Redick is expected to get an MRI exam on his wrist Monday. He got X-rays Friday night that were negative.
Though he was in pain after the game, Redick said he didn’t think he had a broken hand.
“My back is actually what took the brunt of the fall, right on my tailbone,” Redick said after Friday night’s game. “I didn’t really notice my wrist until five or 10 minutes later.”
The right-handed-shooting Redick is third on the team in scoring (15.8 points per game), but he’s probably the Clippers’ best outside shooter. He is shooting 46% from the field, 35.9% from three-point range.
“If it was his left hand, we’d be fine,” Coach Doc Rivers said, jokingly. “It’s his right hand and we need that. We need that cannon. We want to be real safe with him, just like with Chris.”
Willie Green probably will start in place of Redick and sixth-man Jamal Crawford will provide the offense off the bench.
If Paul can’t play, Darren Collison will start at point guard again.
“The thing about our team — and obviously we’re a work in progress – but everybody knows what their job is,” Paul said. “The assistant coaches put in one of those systems where it doesn’t matter who’s in. It’s the same game plan. Whether it’s me, DC [Collison], whoever it is, if we stick to what we’re supposed to do, then we’ll be in good shape.”
Crawford displays point-guard skills
When Paul went down with his injury, Crawford became the backup point guard for the Clippers.
It’s not as if the 6-foot-5 Crawford can’t play the position.
He has averaged 3.8 assists per game over his 13-year career. He is averaging 2.8 assists per game this season for the Clippers, third-best on the team.
“I came up as a point guard my whole life,” Crawford said. “Then I split time at [point guard and shooting guard] and then I moved to shooting guard forever. I think it helps having that [point guard] background.”
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