BLEDSOE OUT WITH CALF INJURY VS. BOBCATS
LOS ANGELES – Guard Eric Bledsoe will not play Tuesday when the Clippers take on the Charlotte Bobcats due to a sore left calf.
He aggravated the injury in Thursday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs and played through it two days later against the Jazz, wearing a blue sleeve over his left leg. The injury snaps a streak of 75 consecutive games for the reserve point guard.
"It was just bothering him after San Antonio and it just got a little progressively worse,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “It is a tight calf. It’s irritating him and those can be dangerous. He’s feeling better today which is good. I don’t want to push it right now with back-to-back games coming up. Hopefully, we’ll have him back soon.”
Bledsoe, who has not scored in double figures since Feb. 11 at Philadelphia, participated in shoot-around Tuesday morning but was evaluated at the arena and ruled out prior to the start of the game. He is listed as day-to-day.
Through 58 games, the dynamic young guard has averaged a career-best 9.4 points per game and is ranked in the top 20 in the league in steals (1.6). He was a participant in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk, earning a perfect score on his second dunk attempt and has been one of the catalysts for a Clippers bench which has ranked among the league’s best in most statistical categories.
Bledsoe started 12 games in place of Chris Paul, who missed all but eight games in January with a bruised right kneecap. The third-year guard missed the first month of the 2011-12 season while he recovered from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Bledsoe’s injury is compounded by the absence of guard Jamal Crawford, who is not with the team after his wife gave birth to a baby girl Monday. Both Crawford and Bledsoe will travel with the team to Indiana in the first of a two-game Eastern Conference swing. Willie Green is expected to assume duties at both guard positions with Grant Hill and Matt Barnes filling in as well.
“Other guys have to step up,” Del Negro said. “It changes our rotation a little bit. For us, it’s about getting better, playing the right way.
“Chauncey [Billups], Willie [will play more]. Grant’s back has been an issue the last couple days, so he’s struggling a little bit. We’ll see if he can even go. We’ll just figure out as we go here with Chris and Chaunce and Willie. Matt can play some. We’ll have to play Caron [Butler] a little bit more. We could go big and play Blake [Griffin] a little bit at the 3 if we had to. We’ll mix and match as best we can.”