REDICK OPTIMISTIC ABOUT INJURY, CLIPPERS TO ADJUST WITHOUT HIM
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers, like every team that deals with injuries, will have to adjust.
J.J. Redick, who was averaging a career-high 15.8 points through 17 games, will miss 6-8 weeks with a torn ulnar collateral ligament near his right wrist and fracture of a small bone in his hand. The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Clippers’ win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday when he crashed to the floor after being undercut on a rebound attempt.
"In terms of the injury, it's a partial tear of the UCL, a ligament in the wrist and a fracture of the pisiform, a small little bone right where the ligament and the bone come together,” Redick said after the Clippers’ 105-100 loss to the Pacers. “I'm seeing a specialist tomorrow, so I'll know more about whether I need surgery. The ligament looks intact, so they shouldn't have to operate on that. It's just depending on what the fragments are in the bone, maybe I'll have to have some cleaning out of that tomorrow. So, we'll see."
Head coach Doc Rivers talked pregame about how Redick’s injury will impact the offense.
“Obviously, it takes out something that’s been huge for us offensively. J.J.’s movement is an offense in itself,” Rivers said. “We’ve been setting up a lot of offensive off his movement to get something else. He’s one of those guys when he goes out it changes a lot of what we do and we’re going to have to do it on the run. We don’t have a lot of time to prepare.”
The Clippers (12-6) will be forced to adjust rather quickly with Redick and key reserve Matt Barnes (eye) missing from their core and Chris Paul (hamstring) and Jared Dudley (knee) nursing nagging injuries. They embark on a seven-game road trip that begins Wednesday in Atlanta.
Willie Green will start for Redick going forward and Jamal Crawford, who said he thinks Redick’s injury calls for him to be more “aggressive” both as a scorer and passer, will be relied upon even more so off the bench.
“When Matt comes back, we’ll play him and Willie and Reggie [Bullock] at the two,” Rivers said. “We’ll use all kinds of combinations.”
It is a familiar situation for Green, who arrived at Staples Center more than four hours before tipoff Sunday to get work in after learning he would be the starter a day earlier.
The feeling must have been similar to a year ago. Green, relegated to the bench for most of the season due to a breadth of guard depth on the roster, was going to be standing in for an injured starter. And like last year, when Green started 60 games for Chauncey Billups, he’ll likely be doing so for a while.
“Willie’s a pro,” Rivers said. “We’re playing different than last year and Willie is not going to be running around screens like that, so it’s going to be a big difference.”
Asked if he noticed Redick’s absence in the Indiana game, Chris Paul said, “Obviously.”
The biggest concern for the Clippers moving forward without Redick could be how it impacts the offense. Redick, whose longest prior stint of games missed was 17 in 2011 due to an abdominal injury, is scoring 6.8 points per game in the first quarter (tied for fifth in the NBA) and has helped the Clippers score at the third most efficient clip in the NBA through his movement in set plays, running to the 3-point arc in transition and ability to make plays off the dribble.
“He’s one of the highest motor offensive players in the game,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s just constant offensive energy. He’s not just a guy who’s on the 3-point line, standing and waiting. He’s in constant movement, coming off pin downs, cutting, attacking long closeouts. He’s just a big-time weapon and guy that always hurt us when we played Orlando.”
Redick said he’s maintained a level of optimism regarding his injury. For one, he knows what the rehabilitation entails. He’s broken his right wrist three previous times, including once as a 22-year-old at Duke. Plus, because it’s an upper body injury, he can maintain a level of cardiovascular fitness.
“When most guy’s legs are going to be tailing off towards the end of January, I’ll have fresh legs,” Redick said. “And then a couple of the coaches said it, it will be like we traded for somebody right before the All-Star break. I’m hoping I have five more months of basketball to play this season.”