JARED DUDLEY CONTINUES PLAYING THOURGH KNEE PAIN
LOS ANGELES – Clippers forward Jared Dudley said he still feels the tendinitis in his right knee that’s hampered him throughout the start of the season.
“It tightens up sometimes,” Dudley said after the Clippers’ 105-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. “So, it’s hard for me to bend my knees on a shot or when I’m running.”
Dudley has played in noticeable pain since training camp. Sometimes it’s worse than others.
“It’s gotten better,” he said. “At one point I didn’t know if it was. I was thinking about sitting down. You try to do what’s best for the team. You don’t want to hurt them, you want to help them.”
He’s averaging 7.2 points per game and shooting just 31.0 percent from 3-point range, more than 8.0 percent lower than his worst in the past five seasons. There are nights, though, when he appears to be more himself. He had 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting in Minnesota Wednesday, playing 29 minutes.
That’s still more than Head Coach Doc Rivers would prefer. Rivers said Saturday morning that with forward Matt Barnes sidelined for at least the next two weeks as he recovers from surgery to repair a retinal tear in his left eye, he still wants to limit Dudley’s minutes to 28.
“I did a terrible job in the Oklahoma game with that,” Rivers said. “I went in with my self clock at 28 [minutes] and I think he played [34[, so that’s just awful. I’ve got to do a better job with that.
“We don’t have another small forward. We’re going to junk the game up or do something or Reggie [Bullock] is going to have to play more. The bottom line is that’s just too many minutes for Jared right now.”
In his minutes, limited or not, Dudley can still help the Clippers, according to Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
“He’s one of those guys that always seems to be in the right spot on both ends of the floor,” Brooks said. “I don’t know him, but he seems like a guy that loves the game, wants to be a player that can be relied on. He seems like a very high basketball-IQ type of player. He makes big shots. He’s a deep shooter. He’s a position defender. He seems like a guy who is all about winning.”
Dudley said he has undergone various exercises to strengthen the area around his knee and started taking “regenecon” shots to relieve pain. Asked if he foresees the knee feeling consistently better, Dudley said, “I think eventually. Obviously, when it comes to tendinitis, rest is the best thing. Over the last three or four days I’ve started to fill a little bit more positive. After starting the regenecon shots and starting to do more strengthening exercises, it has gotten slightly better.
“As long as it’s not torn and as long as I can play, there will be some days that are better than others, but I’ll keep pushing to keep trying to get better.”