Billups to return before playoffs and play next season

VIA: Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups won’t play Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, missing his sixth straight game and ninth of the team’s last 10 games because of a strained right groin.

Billups returned to practice Tuesday and there is no timetable for his return.

“I don’t have an answer for that yet,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said when asked when Billups would return. “I really don’t know. It’s kind of a day to day thing how he feels and what the trainer tells me how he responds to working out and playing.”

On Tuesday, Billups participated in the Clippers’ scrimmage but was limited. He also shot around with the team before Wednesday’s game.

“He was good,” Del Negro said. “He didn’t do a lot. We didn’t have a ton of contact. He did a little bit of it so no setbacks which was good, but we’ll make those decisions on a daily basis as the trainer tells me.”

Billups wasn’t sure when he would return but said it would be before the playoffs. The Clippers have only four games left in the regular season after Wednesday.

“Oh yeah,” Billups said. “I’ll be back before then.”

When asked if this would be his last season and potentially his last postseason, Billups shook his head.

“No,” he said. “Not at all.”

Billups, 36, has played just 20 games this season, averaging 8.2 points and 2.2 assists, while battling through a variety of injuries.

“We’re really taking it day by day and having some tough workouts and testing it and challenging it and seeing how I feel the next day,” Billups said. “I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be back. I’m just following the leadership of the trainers and apparently I’m just not quite ready yet. So I trust them and I listen to them.”

When Billups does come back, he doesn’t believe there will be much of a transition period for him.

“It’ll be easy,” Billups said. “I’ve been doing this so long, I know how to stay out of the way and do what I do. I will be fine. I hope they will. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s more them than me. … In my eyes, this is all just the preseason. The real season is coming up and I’m hoping to be ready.”

Tags: Chauncey Billups Los Angeles Clippers

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