TORN RETINA TO SIDELINE BARNES
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Clippers will be without forward Matt Barnes for at least two weeks.
Barnes sustained a retinal tear in his left eye on Nov. 18 when he was inadvertently hit by Memphis forward Zach Randolph. He underwent successful surgery to repair the injury Thursday night and will not be available until sometime in December, at the earliest.
“It’s disappointing news,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We thought we were going to catch a break as of even yesterday afternoon. The swelling was going down and we thought that was great news. Right before I came to talk to you guys (the media) I got a call that said the exact opposite.”
Barnes did not travel with the Clippers (8-5) to Minneapolis and Oklahoma City this week as he awaited test results on his injured eye. In the meantime, Reggie Bullock, Willie Green, and, perhaps, Antawn Jamison will see time in Barnes’ absence.
Bullock saw a portion of Barnes’ minutes in Minnesota Wednesday, scoring six points on 2-for-4 shooting.
“He’s a good player,” Rivers said of Bullock Thursday in Oklahoma City. “He wants to play. Doesn’t complain. He’s not happy when he’s not playing, but he’s never an obstruction. So, he’s been great.”
Rivers chose to use Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick together on the wing as well. Moving forward, it will likely be a mix of small-ball, Bullock and one of the two aforementioned veterans.
On Wednesday, Rivers talked about the potential of using Jamison, 37, who has yet to appear in a regular season game this season.
“He could [help us], obviously, if there’s a bigger three,” Rivers said. “Antawn is going to play probably sooner than later, just because we need him on the floor. We don’t want to put him in mothballs and try to take him out completely. But we do want to limit him as much as we can.”
The injury to Barnes is the fourth he’s suffered since re-signing with the Clippers in June. He missed a portion of the offseason with a quad injury, sat out seven preseason games with a sore left calf and sustained a right thigh contusion on Nov. 4 after being kneed by Houston’s Greg Smith.
Barnes has averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in eight games this season. He is coming off arguably his most productive year of his career. He scored a career-high 10.3 points per game and did not miss a single game due to injury. He wrapped up the season with a career-playoff-high 30 points against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of the first round.
Note: The above story was updated at 12:05 a.m. PT to include news of Barnes' surgery and an additional comment from Doc Rivers.