Hand Injury Frustrating For Wilcox After Finally Feeling Healthy
ORLANDO – Clippers guard C.J. Wilcox could only watch the majority of the Clippers’ Summer League opener from the end of the bench, with a soft cast enveloping his right hand after getting his ring finger caught in a jersey.
For Clippers fans, who watched Chris Paul break his hand in the same fashion in Game 4 of last year’s first-round series against Portland, Saturday’s unlucky sight was all too familiar.
Wilcox injured his hand within the first five minutes of Saturday’s Summer League game against the Heat. He briefly tried to play through it before walking to the bench.
“The longer I sat there, the more sore it got,” Wilcox said.
After getting looked at by head athletic trainer Jasen Powell, Wilcox eventually went to the locker room. He emerged in the second quarter with a cast around his hand, signaling the end of his night and potentially the end of his Summer League action, though he said he hadn’t received X-Rays by game’s end and is still hoping for the best.
“Just frustrating,” Wilcox said. “Just really bad luck, especially the same way CP hurt his hand. Just trying to stay positive now, and hopefully I get good news.”
Wilcox doesn’t know the extent of the injury, but it’s another unlucky break for the backup shooting guard, who hasn’t had health on his side as he prepares for a season in which he could be called upon more than ever before.
The majority of Wilcox’s summer was spent recovering and rehabbing after he said he started developing knee tendinitis late during one of his NBA Development League stints and carrying on toward the end of the NBA season. He wanted to fight through any pain with his role increasing as the Clippers rested players.
“After the season, I shut it down for a month, started doing rehab,” said Wilcox, who knew he had to slow down to get his body right. “Really, I’ve only been working out for two weeks since the season ended – like, really working out. I’d mostly been getting treatment.”
That treatment included deep tissue work, hamstring exercises and strength workouts around his knee, which, combined with the rest, got him back to feeling like himself. Wilcox had never experienced tendinitis before and didn’t know where it came from until he was told his right leg was shorter than his left, and that led to tightness in his lower body and pressure on his knee.
But the rest – his first significant time off since college – helped considerably. And he entered Summer League upbeat, trying to build on the confidence he gained from his play at the end of last season.
Wilcox averaged three points per game last year, but that jumped to 6.3 points per game in April with added playing time, including a career-high 19-point performance in the season finale.
“I knew I was starting to get comfortable on the floor and show the guys I can play,” Wilcox said.
The latest injury to his hand marks another setback on building that comfort and confidence. His teammate Branden Dawson said it was tough to see, because he knows how hard Wilcox works.
Still, Clippers Summer League head coach Brendan O’Connor is confidence Wilcox will once again rebound from this latest obstacle, however serious it may be.
“He’s had a great camp,” O’Connor said. “I’m more disappointed for him because he’s been busting his butt. It would’ve been great, obviously, for him to play in this league, but the most important thing is that he’s healthy for camp.”