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SHOOT-AROUND REPORT: BUTLER ADJUSTING TO PLAYING WITH BROKEN HAND



Eric Patten @ericpatten | 5/17/12

SAN ANTONIO - Instinct takes over and Caron Butler sometimes forgets about his broken left hand, but the pain that follows offers a sharp reminder.

Butler sat out one game with the injury, a fractured fifth metacarpal he sustained in the Clippers' playoff opener nearly three weeks ago. He's started every game since, wearing a contraption on his left hand that is part padding, part glove, and part tape.

At shoot-around Thursday, he said there are times when he reacts to a situation, such as utilizing a dribble-drive on the left baseline, and forgets about the injury, only to feel a twinge or numbness.

"It's difficult, but at the same time I'm starting to get a feel for how to play with it," Butler explained. "It's an adjustment, an adjustment on the fly, playing with the pain, shooting the ball differently, it coming out a different way. It's a whole different feeling.

"The ball is coming out at the release point a little different, so the shot is sometimes flatter than usual. You've just got to make the adjustment."

Since returning for Game 3 of the Clippers' series against Memphis he's scored 10 or more points three of the team's six games. On Tuesday he put together a string of tough shots in the third quarter, making two mid-range jumpers and two wing 3-pointers in 4:16.

"He was aggressive [in the third quarter]," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He got some shots. We ran a couple plays for him on some things we were doing."

He made another three later in the frame, falling as Stephen Jackson contested. Butler said falling can be a problem because his immediate reaction is to put his left hand down to catch himself. He hasn't figured out an ideal way to fall yet, but explained the protective brace is becoming less bothersome.

"It's starting to come, starting to get a feel for how to shoot with the thing on," he said, holding up his left hand. As the series with San Antonio progresses, Butler could be vital. He scored 15 points in Game 1 and Del Negro praised the man known as "Tuff Juice" for what he's given the team so far.

"You've just got to be careful with it [the injury], but he's got to be out there and he's got to play well for us," Del Negro said. "He's given us a big boost, no question about it. It would have been hard to get through the Memphis series without Caron."

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