CLIPPERS OPTIMISTIC ON INJURY FRONT

With 17 games remaining before the start of the postseason, the Clippers and Head Coach Doc Rivers remain optimistic about the return of their trio of injured wings.

Jared Dudley, who has missed three games with mid-back spasms, is “close,” according to Rivers and is hopeful to return to his reserve forward role on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors. Jamal Crawford has been doing on-court work in recent days and while he is not expected to play Wednesday, could return within the next week or so.

Crawford has been sidelined for four of the last five games with a strained left calf. He got hurt in the first half of the Clippers’ Feb. 26 win over the Rockets and returned to play 10 minutes against the Hawks Saturday. But Crawford sat out the entire second half and said after the game that he needs to get his calf “stronger.”

Crawford had been starting in place of injured shooting guard J.J. Redick, who’s played just 30 games this season due to various ailments. Redick has also started some on-court work, including shooting, and will be evaluated over the next several weeks. He has been out since Feb. 5 with a bulging disc in his lower back.

“He’s feeling better, which is a great sign,” Rivers said of Redick. “I don’t want get anyone too up or down, but he’s feeling a lot better.”

Even with Redick, Crawford and Dudley out for various games over the last three weeks, the Clippers (45-20) have surged in the West and continued scoring at a league-high clip. They have won eight games in a row, topping 100 points in each victory.

“We’re still scoring points, but you feel like scoring is much harder,” Rivers said. “I really feel like down the stretch of the games, scoring gets really hard for us because they’re taking stuff away because they know guys aren’t there.”

The Clippers play the Warriors Wednesday before traveling to Utah for an up-and-back against the Jazz on Friday.