PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — In a season that has been marred by injuries to almost everyone, the LA Clippers are preparing for another starter to miss an extended period of time.
Shooting guard Avery Bradley, who was just acquired by the Clippers on Jan. 29 as part of a trade package that sent power forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, could miss as many as three weeks with a sports hernia.
Bradley played in all six games before the All-Star break with the Clippers since joining the team, but he missed the two games after the break, and he will continue to miss time.
“Avery’s gonna be out for a little bit. So we’re just gonna have to figure out how long,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Don’t know, it could be a week, it could be three weeks, but we don’t know yet.”
Bradley, who is in the final year of a four-year contract signed in July 2014 while with the Boston Celtics, has seen all of his numbers go down since last season. Bradley also missed seven games in December with the Pistons because of a groin injury. Rivers compared Bradley’s injury to that of rookie point guard Jawun Evans, who has been out since Jan. 22 with an abdominal injury.
“The bottom line is that it’s a tough injury to have,” Rivers said. “It’s the same one Jawun has. Especially with what Avery does, I mean, he’s one of the, if not the best, he’s one of the top five defensive guys on the ball in the league. And that’s all movement there. So it’s a tough blow, but it is what it is.”
Rivers added that Bradley and Evans may have to consider surgery at some point, but not during the season.
“They may have to consider it after the season, but nothing right now,” Rivers said.
The Clippers did get relatively good news on small forward Danilo Gallinari‘s right hand contusion, an injury suffered in Thursday’s loss at Golden State. Gallinari is day-to-day, though he’s not a lock to play Tuesday at Denver or Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.
“It’s nothing structural,” Rivers said about the injury. “The doctor thought he’d be day-to-day, it’ll be a pain tolerance thing.”
Still, it’s been a tough season for the Clippers in regard to player availability. The team has already used 28 different starting lineups, the most in the NBA this season. Bradley isn’t the first player to struggle through injury after coming over to the team via trade. Another defensive specialist, point guard Patrick Beverley, is out for the season after only 11 games following knee surgery in November.
But the Clippers are still in the postseason hunt with a record of 31-27, ranking ninth in the Western Conference.
“We just gotta push forward,” Rivers said. “Obviously this is a stretch run right here, so it’s frustrating. Probably more frustrating for everyone right now. But we still have to figure out a way to win this game, and then hopefully, if Gall plays it would be great. If not, see if he can play by Houston. If not, we just have to keep going that way. And then, same thing with Avery, I mean, Avery could be back within a week. I mean, we don’t know that, so we just gotta make sure he’s healthy.”