GRANGER COULD PLAY IN GAME 1, PER RIVERS
PLAYA VISTA – The Clippers were still more than an hour away from their first practice leading up to Game 1 of the Playoffs.
Players were trickling into their Playa Vista training center, getting therapy, meeting with assistant coaches and going over preliminary practice plans. But small forward Danny Granger had been there for a while already.
Granger, who has not played since straining his left hamstring on Mar. 27 at Dallas, was in full practice gear, going through a “pre-practice” workout. It was the latest sign that the former All-Star and newest member of the Clippers’ roster may be ready for the postseason opener on Saturday.
“I’m hoping now, yes, [he will be available],” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “He had a pre-workout workout already and he looked pretty good for us. But he was going up against a chair.”
Rivers indicated that he will know more about Granger’s status after the team goes through a more extensive practice on Friday.
“We’re not going to do much today, so honestly I won’t know much until tomorrow after practice,” Rivers added. “But right now I’m going to say I do expect him to play, but I just don’t know how much.”
In 12 games with the Clippers, Granger played 16.2 minutes per game and averaged 8.0 points on 42.9 percent shooting. He had six double-digit scoring games, including a crucial 18-point performance against the Warriors in the Clippers’ 111-98 win on Mar. 12.
Since he went down Jared Dudley has been used primarily as the reserve small forward behind Matt Barnes. Granger’s pending return would give the Clippers their full complement of players for the first time since Nov. 18. They signed Granger and Glen Davis after the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
The additional depth on the wing could be a factor against a Warriors team that will likely go small without center Andrew Bogut, who is out indefinitely with a fractured rib. They will likely use Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes alongside David Lee and/or Jermaine O’Neal at times.
“It’s very important,” Chris Paul said of Granger’s possible return. “We already feel like we have one of the best teams in the league because of our depth and we need that.”