Los Angeles Clippers guard Darren Collison has been battling with a painful big toe sprain throughout this week. Collison suffered the injury against the Indiana Pacers, and has looked hindered by the foot ever since. Collison recently stated that he would take a few games off, but does not have the desire to because of Chris Paul‘s injury. However, it appears the pain is debilitating Collison too much.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 23, 2014
If Collison doesn’t play, the team will be down to one point guard. That’s Darius Morris, the third year guard on a 10-day contract. There isn’t much help on the horizon, either. Chris Paul has stated that he still has not yet set a return date and there are not many players, let alone point guards available on the open market. After playing 30 minutes against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night and recording 12 points (5-11 shooting) and five assists, it did not seem that coach Doc Rivers would diminish his playing time.
However, Collison was not on the floor down the stretch in the fourth quarter and moving forward Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks it may be in the team’s best interest to sit Collison out. Despite Collison’s pain, he has stated numerous times that he will attempt to play due to the Clippers’ lack of depth at the point guard position.
Collison has started the past nine games in place of Chris Paul, who separated his right shoulder on Jan. 3. The Clippers have gone 6-3 in that stretch with Collison fueling them on both ends of the floor. But that changed in the first quarter versus the Indiana Pacers when Collison landed awkwardly in the first half and went back to the locker room for a brief period. He returned to the game in Indiana and started the past two games, but has not been the same player who averaged nearly 16 points and seven assists in Paul’s stead.
This is yet another bite from the injury bug that was plagued the Clippers for most of the season. Collison, Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are the only four Clippers rotation players who have appeared in all 44 games thus far. J.J. Redick missed 21 games with a broken hand and partially torn ligament in his right wrist, Matt Barnes was sidelined for a month with a lacerated retina and Paul has not played since the beginning of the month.
The Clippers head to Chicago for game five of their seven-game road trip Friday. If Collison is unable to play, Jamal Crawford or Darius Morris, who is on his second 10-day contract with the Clippers, could possibly start.