Jordan Plays Day After Accident, Sets First Quarter Career Mark
NEW ORLEANS – The bandages on his left arm under his long-sleeved T-shirt at Wednesday’s shootaround were all that gave away what DeAndre Jordan had gone through 24 hours prior.
Jordan smiled, laughed, cracked jokes and generally seemed like himself.
He knows he’s lucky that’s the case, a day after a car accident on his way to the team plane, as the Clippers got ready to depart on a three-game trip.
“It was unfortunate, but I’m glad everybody’s all right,” Jordan said Wednesday afternoon. “I feel all right. I’m playing tonight, so that’s good. We can’t afford anybody else to be out.”
Photographs of the car crash, which left Jordan’s car totaled, showed Chris Paul also on the scene; but Jordan cleared that up immediately. Paul had gone to check on Jordan before the team took off.
“Like I said, I’m just very fortunate that I’m OK and everybody else that was involved was OK,” Jordan said. “CP was not involved in the accident…I think people were just taking the State Farm thing too serious, like, ‘Yeah, Cliff Paul’s on the scene.’ But nah, man, I’m very lucky, and so are the other people that were involved. I’m just glad I got some support from everybody here.”
In their State Farm commercials, Jordan and Paul are both there to lend an assist.
On Wednesday night, it was no different.
Paul returned from a three-game absence from a left hamstring strain, while Jordan, a day after his accident, put together a double-double by the end of the first quarter – something he’d never done before in his career and something no other player has done in the NBA this season.
As he played, Jordan wore a covering around his left forearm where the bandages were, but it didn’t seem to slow him down as he corralled offensive rebounds and generally appeared to be energized with Paul by his side once again.
Nothing gave away the whirlwind 24 hours it had been after a scary situation, one that wasn’t a first for him. Jordan said he was involved in something similar with former NBA player Donald Sloan in a car wreck back in high school.
“I was in Dallas and got hit,” Jordan said. “I was in the car with Sloan. It was pretty bad, but I was lucky then, too.”
Lucky, because in both cases no one was seriously injured.
“He is lucky,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “Those things are very serious. Having seen it, it was a car wreck, for sure. The fact that he’s able to play is a blessing.”
Jordan said one of the first things that popped into his mind after the accident was how Rivers was going to be upset he was late to the flight.
Admittedly, when Rivers heard the news at first, he was skeptical.
“From probably being in the league way too long, when a player or anyone calls and says they’re late because they’re in a car wreck, the first thing you do is like, ‘Yeah right,’” Rivers said.
But Jordan came to Rivers with pictures, and Rivers realized the significance of what occurred.
Despite that, Jordan didn’t miss a game, finishing Wednesday night with 13 points and a season-high 25 rebounds in the loss.
“Like I said, I’m lucky, man,” Jordan said. “Just glad everybody’s OK.”