‘TOUGH AS NAILS’ REDICK PLAYS THROUGH AILMENTS
By the end of the Clippers’ seven-game road trip, J.J. Redick might as well have been covered in protective bubble wrap.
The back of his shoulder had crisscrossed strips of black tape protruding from underneath his jersey. His left knee was covered by a padded black sleeve. His ailing lower back had undergone extensive therapy for the duration of the first half in Toronto.
Despite being treated to some extent like a human piñata, a battered Redick did not miss a game. He played through a bruised knee in Indiana, the second game of the trip. Managed a tweak in his right shoulder in Chicago a week later and emerged from lower back spasms in Toronto to score 16 second-half points and help put away the Raptors with a pair of jumpers in the final five minutes.
“He’s just tough,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said after the 126-118 win in Toronto. “His shoulder’s been bothering him. He threw his back out in the first half. J.P. (Jasen Powell) our trainer comes to me and says, ‘J.J. is out for the game.’ Then at halftime J.J. comes to me and tells me, ‘No, I’m going back. I want to at least give it a go.’”
It’s no surprise that Redick would play through the pain and ask back in. He is a relentless worker, borderline obsessive with the way he takes care of his body. Yoga, Pilates, cardio, hours of shooting and multiple muscle activation drills are merely part of the Redick regimen. Whether or not it is a Clippers game day or if it’s the regular season or offseason, Redick works out six days a week. It is something that he started more than four years ago, when he a reserve on the Orlando Magic, still looking to etch out his place in the league following one of the most decorated college careers in NCAA basketball history.
All of the preparation is why Redick’s recent bout with nagging injuries, including a quad contusion in the preseason and broken hand and partially torn ligament in his right wrist at the end of November, have been tough to stomach.
“It’s frustrating for me because I haven’t really had to deal with the issues,” Redick said. “For like three years, ever since I had my abdominal surgery [in the summer of 2011], I’ve really been on top of things. I do activation stuff before shootaround, after shootaround, before the game twice. I take care of myself.”
In the past two seasons, Redick missed just five games. Despite missing 21 in the regular season this year, he’s averaging a career-high 16.3 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting, also a career benchmark. His impact on the Clippers’ offense has been too vast to fully quantify. The Clippers average 112.1 points per 100 possessions in games Redick has started; compared to 104.8 in games he has missed.
But the shooting, and scoring, even in Redick’s first season as a full-time starter, come as little surprise. His toughness, perhaps, has.
“He’s a tough guy,” said DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s current iron man. “I didn’t think he was that tough. He takes a lot of hits, falls to the ground, but he plays through it. He’s definitely like one of those tough, hard-nosed guys.”
Jamal Crawford, Redick’s scoring counterpart in the backcourt, said, “[He’s] tough as nails. He’s a competitor.
“When [his motor turns on] he’s tough to turn off.”