Injury Report: Matt Barnes Out Against Hornets; Reggie Bullock Starts

Rowan Kavner

CHARLOTTE – A strong start in Memphis ended in pain for Matt Barnes.

The Clippers’ starting small forward played through a calf injury that had bothered him for weeks and scored nine points in the first quarter, but he aggravated the calf and could now miss a couple games. Reggie Bullock will make the start Monday against the Hornets at small forward.

 “I hurt it against Portland,” Barnes said. “Since I started finally playing better and getting in a rhythm, I just tried to play through it. We were doing treatment around the clock, and then last night when Tony Allen drove to the basket baseline, I took a step and I just felt it.”

Barnes, who’s dealt with the injury before, said he could tell after that play in the second quarter he needed to sit out. He didn’t want to miss any time after finding his rhythm, but he hopes he caught the injury early enough and he can get back to playing by the end of the road trip.

“A lot of bad’s been happening,” Barnes said. “But I feel good about my game, finally. I feel comfortable again. So hopefully this is not too bad and I can get back out there by Friday.”

Having had the injury, he knew this risk was possible. Last night he knew he had to stop. Barnes wasn’t sure what to call the calf injury other than “painful.” Before the Clippers played Monday’s game, Barnes was in the locker room with his leg in a compression device.

On the other side of the locker room was a former North Carolina Tar Heel who’ll get to play in front of family in Charlotte. Bullock said his 2-year-old son will be among the family that gets to watch him, which he said makes the opportunity even more special.

“My teammates know what I’m capable of doing, so I just have to continue to try to stay consistent,” Bullock said. “Coach (Doc Rivers) has trust in me to put me right into that position and I just have to go out and play hard.”

Bullock said Rivers has made it very clear to him how key his defensive presence has to be. Bullock hopes he can fit in seamlessly with a starting group he’s not accustomed to playing with.

“The starters, they definitely have their routine how they play,” Bullock said. “I have to be able to see the things when I was on the bench, see the things they were doing as a starting group and go in and fill in that spot Matt had as a slasher, a shooter, a defender and a physical player.”

Barnes is optimistic he’ll be able to get back to playing soon. Head coach Doc Rivers said he wouldn’t be shocked if Barnes missed a couple games, but he’s not sure if that’ll be the case. Putting Bullock into the starting lineup allows Hedo Turkoglu and Jamal Crawford to stay with the backups.

“I just like Turk and Jamal together,” Rivers said. “I like those two playing together to help the second unit out. The second unit has been very temperamental. They didn’t play well yesterday, but they’ve had a pretty good thing going. I’d like to keep that group together as much as possible.”