REDICK OUT INDEFINITELY WITH BULGING DISC
LOS ANGELES – J.J. Redick is out indefinitely with bulging disc in his lower back, continuing a string of misfortune for the veteran shooting guard the Clippers acquired via a sign and trade over the summer.
“Until [his back], I guess the word would be, ‘calms down’ and he gets his movement back, he’ll be out,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “That could be three days, two weeks, three weeks, no one knows. There’s no set deadline on when he’s coming back. He could be back quick or it could take a while and I don’t think anybody knows.”
Redick missed most of the preseason with a quad injury and was sidelined 21 games from Dec. 1 to Jan. 8 with a fractured right hand/torn right wrist ligament after crashing to the floor on a rebound attempt in Sacramento. The latest series of injuries for Redick began during the Clippers’ seven-game January road trip. He sustained a bruised left knee in Indiana, a right shoulder injury in Chicago and sat out most of the first half in Toronto the next night with back spasms.
Still, he played through the back problem to score 16 points in the second half, including making several key baskets in the fourth quarter. But Redick’s play slowly declined after that. He was 9-for-27 from the field and scored 12 points or fewer in the final three games before Rivers decided to sit him down.
Redick sat out the final four games before the All-Star break with what was termed a sore right hip, but further examination revealed the disc injury which led to other complications.
“I’ve had that injury,” Rivers said. “I’ve had back surgery. I played 13 years with a herniated disc, but you play and there are days where it affects you and there are days where you go down the bad road and that’s where he’s right now. Again, he could wake up feeling better and he could be back in recovery and back soon. Or it could take a while.”
The Clippers are 21-9 in the 30 games Redick has started this season. He’s averaging a career-high 15.7 points per game while playing the second most minutes of his career and starting more games than any previous two seasons combined.
The minutes load and the preseason setback may have contributed to what Redick has twice termed a “frustrating” experience in his first season with the Clippers.
“Normally, I feel fresh every day,” Redick said last week. “I take care of myself. I feel fresh every day. And to have something like this, you just can’t control it. It’s just maddening to me.”
With Redick in the lineup, the Clippers, already one of the most efficient offenses in the league, have been at their best. Rivers has said that Redick’s movement alongside Chris Paul is one of the key cogs in getting small forward Jared Dudley open looks. The Clippers have a plus-minus rating of plus-11.2 in the 16 games Redick, Paul and Dudley have shared the floor and are shooting 49.7 percent as a team.
Not only does his absence impact Dudley, but it keeps leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford in the starting lineup, weakening the Clippers’ depth. Until Redick returns Crawford, who is averaging 19.8 points per game in 18 starts entering play on Tuesday, will remain as the starter. Willie Green, who was inactive last Wednesday with a sore right hip, and Reggie Bullock will likely split time in the backcourt behind Crawford. Rivers could also opt to use point guard Darren Collison and Paul together in some stretches.
Either way, Rivers said the Clippers will remain cautious with Redick due to the nature of his injury.
“I just don’t think we’re going to put him out there until he’s feeling great,” Rivers said. “And that will be more from [Clippers trainer Jasen Powell] and the doctors. It won’t be my call when to play him.”