REDICK TO RETURN VERSUS MAVERICKS
LOS ANGELES – After two months of watching from the sidelines and weeks of speculation, guard J.J. Redick will make his return to the Clippers' lineup Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Redick, who is averaging a career-best 15.7 points per game, has not played since Feb. 3 due to a bulging disc in his lower back. The injury and subsequent sore hip that was related to his back have cost Redick 25 consecutive games.
On Wednesday, following the Clippers’ 112-108 comeback win over the Suns, Head Coach Doc Rivers said there was a “75-percent chance” the shooting guard would return to play against the Mavericks.
"A lot of it is just how my body feels," Redick said. "Unfortunately, it was injury where there wasn't really a timetable. It just took time for nerve to heal and my nerves and muscles, especially in my right leg, to respond. And functionally I've gotten a lot better over the last few weeks."
It is an ideal time in the schedule to ease Redick back into the lineup. The Clippers have two days off between every game from Apr. 3 through Apr. 15 and do not leave Los Angeles until traveling to Portland on the final day of the regular season.
"I think it's important [to get Redick back before the Playoffs]," Rivers said. "I think it's probably more important for him. But I guess it's probably important for me, too. I want to see what he can do. Is he 100 percent? How is he moving? So, I guess it's important for everyone."
Rivers has previously intimated that if Redick was able to return he would immediately be reinserted as the starter, but he will instead come off the bench and be limited to 20-25 minutes. Darren Collison has been the incumbent shooting guard since Mar. 1, starting 14 of the last 16 games, including 13 Clippers’ victories.
"We're going to play J.J. at a limited basis today," Rivers said. "I still like J.J. better in the starting lineup, to be honest. I just think with his minutes it makes no sense to do that."
Redick has appeared in just 30 games this season due to a litany of injuries, something he has said multiple times is “beyond frustrating.” He missed nearly all of training camp with a quadriceps injury and broke his hand and partially tore a ligament in his wrist on Nov. 29 against the Kings after being undercut on a rebound attempt by DeMarcus Cousins.
He returned from the wrist/hand injury on Jan. 10, but was sidelined less than a month later with hip/back trouble that was related to the fall he took in Sacramento. In the two months that followed speculation about Redick’s potential return varied. He was hoping to return after the All-Star break, but after further examinations revealed the bulging disc he was considered out indefinitely.
Twenty-five games later and with the postseason on the horizon, Redick is finally back.