Rivers Optimistic Redick Will Return Soon

Rowan Kavner

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers are about to face the player Doc Rivers remembers as the best at trying to sell himself into a lineup following an injury.

Rivers said Kevin Garnett mastered what J.J. Redick attempted to do Saturday against his former Magic team, before Rivers decided the guard wasn’t ready to return.

Though Redick didn’t play Friday, it’s a good sign the shooting guard could be ready soon. The timetable for Chris Paul (ribs), however, might be longer.

“Don’t know if I’m as optimistic with Chris,” Rivers said Saturday. “With J.J., I’m a little more optimistic. He even tried to kind of talk guys into letting him play (Saturday)… If he feels that way, then hopefully by next game J.J. will be available.”

Rivers said usually the process is the player will go to the trainer, then the trainer will go to Rivers to deliver whatever the latest is on a player’s injury, at which point the final decision will be made whether or not to let the player will suit up.

“You can tell by the tone of the trainer if it’s a good or bad idea,” Rivers said. “That’s basically what happened (Saturday).”

Rivers said as coaches have learned more about injuries through the years, they’ve proceeded with more caution. He said he believes the erring on the side of caution is better.

“Probably earlier in our careers before we had the knowledge, players could say, ‘I can play, I don’t care what the trainer says,’ and you’d say, ‘OK you’re playing,’” Rivers said. “I don’t think we do that anymore. Sometimes, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but I think we’re smarter about it than we used to be.”

Despite playing without Paul or Redick, the Clippers managed to slip away with a win against the Magic. They’ll hope to do the same if they’re missing one or both players early during their five-game road trip.

“When you have injuries, every game is big,” Rivers said. “Every game you can try to win when you have injuries or you have those two guys out, that’s a lot of points, a lot of assists, a lot of knowledge out.”