Injury Update: Redick Returns, Paul Sits, Johnson Sprains Ankle
HOUSTON – Hamstring injuries can be volatile. So, too, can the Clippers’ starting lineup when both Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are dealing with them.
Paul, who returned after a three-game absence Wednesday, was back to sitting out Friday in Houston, while Redick returned to the court after a two-game absence.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Paul didn’t reinjure the hamstring in New Orleans, but he added the injury could be an issue for a while, and it’s one they want to take slowly.
“He did feel some fatigue, and that’s enough,” Rivers said. “If it was a playoff game, he could play. But if there’s fatigue, that means, to me, more rest. That’s the route we’re going.”
Redick said at shootaround Friday his hamstring needs to be strong and firing correctly, particularly because he runs and cuts so often off screens and the hamstring controls his starting and stopping.
But it felt strong enough to play Friday night, finishing with eight points in 25 minutes.
“It held up,” Redick said, while knocking on wood. “We’ll see how it responds, but it held up.”
Redick said the initial injury was less of a pull or a pop and more tightness and soreness. Now, it’s about managing that tightness.
“Honestly, just being able to play through it but still feeling like your leg’s strong enough and you’re not compensating and you’re not going to make it worse,” Redick said. “That’s kind of where I’m at.”
The Clippers need as many healthy bodies as they can get while playing shorthanded, with Blake Griffin (knee procedure) still out a few weeks, and it didn’t get any better in that regard Friday night, with Wesley Johnson spraining his left ankle. Johnson tried to play through it, but he’s questionable for the second game of the back-to-back Saturday.
“He sprained his ankle pretty good,” Rivers said. “He did an X-ray and it was negative. We don’t need to lose any other guys, clearly.”
The healthy guards the Clippers have are getting plenty of work, and that was particularly the case Friday after Austin Rivers’ second-quarter ejection. Raymond Felton played 31 minutes, scoring 26 points, including 18 in the third quarter as the Clippers mounted a comeback attempt.
It’s the most he’s scored in a quarter in his career, and admittedly, it required plenty of energy. But he knows he can’t let that bother him, since he’ll be needed again Saturday in Oklahoma City.
“Obviously I’m tired, a little sore, but it happens,” Felton said. “When you play minutes like that, your body’s going to be banged up a little bit. But we got another game tomorrow night. I’ve got to get some rest and get ready to go.”