Late Start Gives Redick’s Heel More Time To Heal

Rowan Kavner Digital Content Coordinator

LOS ANGELES – Clippers guard J.J. Redick didn’t practice Friday but expects to play Sunday in the playoff opener against Portland.

Redick bruised his left heel in the first half Tuesday against the Grizzlies and didn’t return for the second half.

“Today’s better,” Redick said. “I’ve been in a walking boot the last 48 hours. Icing it, Ibuprofen, is about all you can do. But, it’s getting better.”

Redick was wearing basketball shoes without a boot Friday. The injury happened on what he joked was an “awesome hesitation move” in the first half.

“I jumped off my right foot, and when I came down I just felt pain, pretty much immediately, on my left foot,” Redick said.

He plans to fight through the issue this weekend, and the late Sunday night start gives him even more time to rest up.

The Clippers’ game is the latest Game 1 matchup of the playoffs, starting at 7:30 p.m. PT. Playing against a Trail Blazers team boasting a backcourt duo averaging more than 45 combined points per game, Redick’s presence becomes even more vital.

Head coach Doc Rivers said the bruised heel is a concern, but he’s not sure just how big of a concern it is yet.

“I think we’ll figure that out when we get closer to Sunday,” Rivers said. “Obviously, he means a lot to what we do, so you want him to be at full strength. You don’t want him to lose another step.”

Redick just wrapped up his second straight season with exactly 200 made 3-pointers while averaging at least 16.3 points per game for the second straight year. He also shot a career-high 47.5 percent from 3-point range and 48 percent from the floor.

Apart from the heel injury, Redick feels fresh, as do the majority of Clippers starters, who got plenty of rest in fourth quarters of blowout games down the stretch. Most of them also sat out to rest in two of the final four games of the month.

“I would say as much as the rest is beneficial physically, it can be even more beneficial from a mental and emotional aspect,” Redick said. “In terms of energy rejuvenation, I feel great. And I think all the guys who were able to take advantage of that rest feel the same way.”

Chris Paul, who averaged just 28.4 minutes per game in April after averaging more than 30 minutes per game in every other month this season, would agree.

“I feel as good as you possibly can,” Paul said. “I think everybody says you can’t find one person who’s 100% now at this point in the season, but the one thing we do have right now is health and everybody will be on the court.”