Injuries Pile Up, As Redick Leaves With Sore Hamstring
LOS ANGELES – An hour before Sunday’s matchup, it seemed the Clippers would get a Christmas gift, with Chris Paul set to return from injury to join J.J. Redick in the backcourt.
By night’s end, both players were unavailable and could miss further time, as the Clippers continue to be hamstrung by hamstrings.
Paul ended up not playing after going through his pregame routine, missing his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. Then, with the Clippers trying to halt a Lakers run that put the latter team ahead in the third quarter, Redick also hurt his left hamstring.
It wasn’t easy to see the injury, but Redick, who had 22 points up until that point, didn’t return after the Clippers called a timeout with 3:33 remaining. He said it happened on the play before the timeout, and at first he thought he cramped up.
“I’m not a person that gets cramps, though,” Redick said.
When he got back to the huddle, he told Clippers head athletic trainer Jasen Powell he thought he did something to his hamstring.
“I’d describe it as a mild, day-to-day type thing,” Redick said. “Could be a day…could be seven. I don’t know. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
That left the Clippers without Paul, Redick or Blake Griffin (knee procedure) down the stretch as they tried to regain a lead that would never return. Raymond Felton played a team-high 38 minutes, and even he was playing through a fever that’s persisted the past few days.
“Raymond was sick as a dog,” said head coach Doc Rivers.
Playing so shorthanded, there wasn’t much of a choice.
The Clippers had to use whoever was available, and in the final minutes, it was mostly backups on the floor to try to earn a comeback win. Jamal Crawford said he thought that was mostly because the Clippers had another game to prepare for a night later. He didn’t realize Redick was dealing with an injury, even after the end result.
How long the Clippers will be without Redick and Paul is unclear, though neither hamstring injuries appear particularly significant. Still, the Clippers could be without three of their five starters Monday night against the Nuggets.
Rivers said before Sunday’s game Paul was going to play against the Lakers after going through a workout and 1-on-1 session Saturday, but he ended up being a late scratch.
“We talked after I met with (the media),” Rivers said. “I wanted him to say he felt great. And right now, feeling good just is not good enough. If it was the playoffs, clearly that’s good enough. Game 30-whatever, ‘I feel good’ is not a good enough response.”
Rivers said his thinking was to sit Paul out another game as well, meaning the Clippers will likely be without their star point guard Monday as they try to dig out of a two-game skid.