CRAWFORD SUSTAINED NASAL FRACTURE IN LOSS

Jamal Crawford

BOSTON – Clippers guard Jamal Crawford sustained a nasal fracture in the second half of Friday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

According to Head Coach Vinny Del Negro, Crawford was fitted for a protective mask Saturday and will be re-evaluated Sunday morning regarding his playing status prior to the Clippers’ matchup with the Celtics.

“We’ve got to see how he is tomorrow,” Del Negro said at the conclusion of the team’s practice at Boston University Saturday. “See how the mask feels, see how he feels. See the discomfort he has.”

Crawford was injured after trying to track down a rebound on a missed free throw, when he was hit in the nose and was knocked to the ground. He remained in the game at the time, but afterwards was examined by Trainer Jasen Powell at Air Canada Centre.

Crawford finished with 14 points off the bench in the 98-73 loss to the Raptors, going 5-for-17 from the field in 32 minutes. He is averaging 16.5 points through 46 games (he missed two in January because of a sore foot) and is arguably the leading candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, which he won in 2010 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

“Obviously, Jamal’s a big piece to our team and it’s another unfortunate injury for us,” Del Negro said.

The Clippers (34-14) have played eight of their last 10 games without Chris Paul, who remains day-to-day with a bruised right kneecap. Chauncey Billups has not played since Dec. 3 due to peroneal tendinitis in his left foot.

Billups, who participated in the team’s two-hour workout and film session Saturday, is getting closer to a return.

“I don’t think you’re really game ready until you just get out there and do it, but practicing, stepping up my workload in practice and seeing how I feel the next day after working so hard,” Billups said. “I’ve tried it a couple times and things felt encouraging.”

Billups played 5-on-5 Tuesday and has been a regular participant in shoot-around prior to the last two games, which are necessary steps as he works his way back into shape.

“The thing that was bad about sitting out is that I’ve had to really sit out, like do nothing at all,” Billups said. “No activity, no cardio, no treadmill, nothing. Of course, that has an effect on your conditioning. I’ve since been able to start to turn that up a little bit.”

The Clippers play the Celtics Sunday afternoon before flying to Washington, D.C. to face the Wizards Monday night.