A feeling emerged around the Clippers locker room a few days ago that J.J. Redick might not be available until after this weekend’s All-Star Game. That feeling was correct.
Redick will miss his fourth game in a row Wednesday with a sore right hip, but Rivers knew he might have to sit Redick after seeing him walk gingerly out of the arena Friday night. Originally, Rivers intended to rest Redick through the Clippers’ second game of their four-game home stand and have him back in the lineup on Sunday against the 76ers. However Redick was ruled out Sunday and Rivers said it seems counterproductive to play him Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I just don’t see the benefit of playing him one game now,” Rivers said prior to practice Tuesday. “So, let’s just sit him and see how he is out of the break. I think he’ll be good.”
Redick has been injury prone all season, struggling to stay on the court and has been hurt since Jan. 25 after a straining a gluteal muscle against the Raptors. Redick has battled injuries throughout his first season with the Clippers (36-18). He sat out six preseason games with a quad injury and missed 21 games from Dec. 1 to Jan. 10 with a fractured wrist. He scored 18 points or more in six of his first 10 games back but was slowed by a series of lingering aches that started with a bruised left knee in Indiana and ended with lower back spasms and a strained gluteal muscle in Toronto.
“The strained muscle that I had going back to the Toronto game caused some nerve irritation and what we’re waiting on is for that nerve to wake back up so that my right leg can function properly,” Redick said. “Basically, I’m trying to activate muscles. I haven’t done anything on the court since the Denver game. There’s no point in me coming out here and jumping with a noodle leg.”
He played five games before being ruled out, but it was clear he was not himself. Redick was just 9-for-27 from the field in his last three games and appeared to have trouble moving fluidly.
Injuries are the last thing the Clippers need at this point in the season, especially those of the lingering persuasion to one of their mot valuable assets. Redick is one of the only players on the Clippers that can consistently knock down shots beyond the arc, a fact that would have displeased Doc Rivers at the beginning of the season. As the Clips fight for home-court advantage during the playoffs, Redick will be a key factor in that battle, especially with Chris Paul coming back from his shoulder injury.