BARNES NOT WITH TEAM DUE TO EYE INJURY
MINNEAPOLIS – Clippers forward Matt Barnes did not travel with the team on its two-game road trip due to a left eye contusion.
Barnes sustained the injury in the first half Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies when he was inadvertently swiped across the face by Zach Randolph as Barnes and Randolph attempted to chase down a loose ball near the sideline.
Barnes is awaiting test results to determine the extent of the injury and will be re-evaluated when the Clippers return from their back-to-back set with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. Rookie Reggie Bullock and veteran guard Willie Green are expected to see time off the bench in Barnes’ absence.
Asked if Bullock is ready for heavy minutes, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers responded: "If he plays well tonight, we still don't know that answer. If doesn't play well, we don't know that answer. I think Reggie is an NBA player and will someday be a very good NBA player."
The eye injury is the latest in a series of setbacks for the newly re-signed Barnes. He missed a portion of the offseason with a quad injury, missed seven preseason games due to a sore left calf and sat out three games during the Clippers’ previous road trip with a right thigh contusion.
On Monday night, Barnes said he was just beginning to get his “rhythm back” after playing four-consecutive games for the first time this year. He is averaging 5.9 points on 34.2-percent shooting with 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals off the bench this season.
"Matt's an intanglibles player," Rivers said. "He never gets a play called for him, but ends the game with all kinds of numbers, frustrating opponents. He's an instigator and you need that on your team."
Barnes proved invaluable as a reserve last season. He was the second-leading scorer for the league’s highest scoring bench and played more fourth-quarter minutes than all but three others on the roster. He finished the season averaging a career-best 10.3 points per game and shot 34.2 percent from 3-point range. He was re-signed by the Clippers in July.