With the 2012-13 NBA season rapidly approaching, the ideal goal for a franchise is to have every player on the roster ready to suit up when the time comes to compete.
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers, three of their top guys — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Chauncey Billups — are trying to recover from surgeries.
The Clippers’ point guard had thumb surgery two months ago and is still feeling side effects of the injury. He is currently practicing in drills, but is not undergoing any scrimmages or full contact drills.
“I shot a jump shot the other day and it felt like it was good and it was an air ball,” Paul said in an interview published by Associated Press. “It’s all going to come back. When I’m at home I’m doing exercises to get ready. I just know I’ll be ready for the first game. I would definitely love to play in an exhibition game, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Have no fear Clippers’ fans, the thumb injury is not going to hamper Paul throughout the season and he should return to normal by his listed return date — Oct. 31, the season opener.
The current Human Highlight Reel — sorry Dominique Wilkins — is ready to go right now after having mid-summer knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered during Olympic training camp.
Every time Griffin jumps, Clippers’ fans have the right to hold their breath and take a long sigh when he lands without grabbing his knees. The All-Star power forward has had two knee surgeries, including the one that kept him out of his would be rookie season. However, the same could be said about every player in the league; no one knows when an injury is going to happen.
See Derrick Rose.
But for now, Griffin seems to fine and is ready for the upcoming season.
A normal recovery time for a torn Achilles tendon is a year to nine months. With that said, anyone expecting Billups to be 100% in the beginning of October — after having surgery in February — is nuts. He has already been through an eight month time span, but I wouldn’t expect him to be able to play until mid-November or December.
Waiting on him to be ready to go seems like it is taking forever, but when the wait is done, the Clippers will be glad they had patience. Billups might not have the speed or athleticism he once had since undergoing a major injury and turning 36-years-old, but age and a declining body does not stop a basketball programmed mind.
Billups like Paul is able to practice but can not take part in full contact drills or scrimmages at this point.
“Everything is good. Been working my tail off ever since I got hurt,” said Billups. “I’m not able to play 5-on-5 yet, but I will practice.”