CLIPPERS GET REDICK, CRAWFORD, COLLISON BACK AT PRACTICE
PLAYA VISTA – After two days off the Clippers were back on the court Thursday morning and for the first time in what has seemed like months they had every member of the roster available to practice at the same time.
Injured guards Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick along with Darren Collison, who sat out the past two games with a stomach virus, all practiced in some capacity, according Head Coach Doc Rivers.
There is still no timetable for Redick, who has not played since Feb. 3 due to a bulging disc in his lower back.
“I don’t have expectations,” Rivers said of Redick. “I think he just wants to go and practice and see how he feels. I have no plans right now. We’re just going to practice him and see what he can do.
“If J.J. comes back tomorrow we’re good. If J.J. comes back in three weeks we’re good. If J.J. comes back in eight weeks and we’re still alive… we’re good. So, I don’t think there is a timetable.”
The Clippers (48-21) are taking a similarly cautious approach with Crawford. However, the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, who has missed eight of the last nine games because of a strained left calf, is hopeful to return Saturday when the Clippers take on the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center.
“He’s going to practice,” Rivers said. “If he feels good then he’ll play. We have two days to practice so he’ll have a pretty good feeling. I want him to play but I don’t want to push him. I want him to be right. If he’s not, we’ll wait until Monday. He’s close enough that he’ll be playing soon. I just can’t say that he’s going to be playing on Saturday.”
Crawford injured his calf on Feb. 26 against the Rockets and returned 10 days later against the Hawks. He managed just 10 minutes and did not play in the second half, afterwards saying his injured calf needed to get stronger. It’s why he’s taken his time before making another attempt to return.
“I want to go through a couple of practices,” Crawford said. “I went through a workout yesterday. I felt pretty good. I didn’t have any legs and was tired, but the calf, I didn’t feel much at all. I want to test it against the guys and see how it goes.”
Crawford is averaging 18.7 points in 61 games. Out of those 38 have been in a reserve role, a spot he may return to even if Redick doesn’t play in the near future. Collison started seven games in a row with Crawford sidelined and may start to help Crawford ease his way back.
“I’ve basically been out three weeks,” Crawford said. “It’s hard enough when you take off three days at All-Star break, especially when you’re playing every single day. I’m sure, but it will come back. That’s the least of my worries. Rhythm, wind and stamina will come back at some point. I just want to make sure I don’t hurt the calf.”
Regardless of when Crawford returns, Saturday or Monday, Blake Griffin suggested that it shouldn’t take him long to reassert his role.
“He’s one of those guys, for us, a lot of times we give him the ball and say, ‘Go do what you do,’” Griffin said. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of timing and a whole lot of rhythm on our part for him to be successful. At the same time, him missing time is just like anybody else. You want to get him back on the court and get a little bit of a rhythm back with everybody.”
And the Clippers will have the next two days of practice to do so. Originally, Rivers said he intended to input new wrinkles to the playbook, but changed his mind when he learned three of his top four guards would be making a return to practice on the same day.
“There’s just too many guys coming back now,” Rivers said. “We probably, as a staff, yesterday basically scrapped all of the stuff that we were going to do, to be honest. It’s just too many guys are coming back and we’ve got to get back into just playing basketball. I think it would be really silly to try and add something new when the guys that are coming back probably don’t remember what we were doing before.”