As recently as last week, the Los Angeles Clippers were contemplating sitting out guard J.J. Redick for the remainder of the season. Despite nagging injuries to multiple players, the Clippers – led by Blake Griffin – have stayed afloat atop the Western Conference. But with the playoffs just around the corner, both Redick and guard Jamal Crawford returned to practice Thursday to better gauge what the team’s post-season roster will look like.
Redick, who has missed the past 18 games with a bulging disk in his lower back, will be evaluated in practice before getting the green light to get back to game-action.
“I don’t have an expectation,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Redick’s imminent return. “I think he just wants to go back out and practice and see how he feels. We’re just going to practice him and see what he could do.”
In total, Redick has missed 39 games this season due to the lower back and previously fractured right wrist injury. The Clippers are 21-9 with Redick in the lineup and 27-12 without. More importantly, the Clippers have an offensive rating of 116.4 with Redick on the floor. If that level of efficiency lasted a full season, it would be the most efficient offense in NBA history. Without Redick, the Clippers’ offensive rating is 110.3, a difference of 6.1 units.
“If J.J. comes back tomorrow, we’re good,” Rivers said. “If J.J. comes back in three weeks, we’re good. If J.J. comes back in eight weeks and we’re still alive, we’re good. I don’t think there is a timetable.”
Crawford plans to return to action Saturday after missing eight of the team’s last nine games.
“He’s going to practice, and if he feels good, he’s going to play,” Rivers said of Crawford’s return. “We have two days of practice so we’ll have a pretty good feeling. I want him to play but I don’t want to push him. I want him to be right. If he’s ready to play, he’ll play, and if not we’ll wait until we play again.”
The Clippers will look to bounce back from their 110-100 loss in Denver when they host the Detroit Pistons Saturday, March 22.
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