At this point I’m afraid a sprained ankle or shoulder contusion is in my near future because I cover this team. Almost everyone on the roster has been hit with an injury, few not having to miss time (Griffin, Dudley) while others (Barnes, Paul, Redick, Bullock) were forced to miss time.
Add Darren Collison to this list after Los Angeles’ loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Here is the scoop via the Los Angeles Times:
Darren Collison limped out of the training room to his locker and plopped his weary body into a chair, his sprained left big toe now the biggest worry the Clippers have to face.
Collison gutted through “some discomfort” for 29 minutes, 50 seconds during the Clippers’ tough 95-91 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Here is the dilemma. It’s unclear if Collison will fall into the “hurt but will play” category or the “hurt and will miss time” one. While Collison is naturally the backup point guard on this roster, he’s been thrusted into the starting lineup as Chris Paul is dealing with a shoulder injury that should have him sidelined until the All-Star break. And in that time as a starter, Collison has averaged 13.6 points and 6 assists per game, all while being efficient from the field, something he struggled with at the beginning of the season.
Rivers spoke on Collison’s injury, and uncertainty seemed to be the theme.
“He’s trying. You can see him laboring up and down the floor, and it’s tough. At some point we may have to make a decision and sit him down as well.”
“I haven’t thought past (rest). But I’m looking at DC and I’ve had that injury myself and it doesn’t get better playing, so we’re going to have to sit and decide how bad is it, if it’s something that’s not that bad but it is. We have to make a decision, too.”
The strengths of Collison’s game is his speed. He isn’t a spectacular shooter, isn’t a defensive specialist and he can’t slow his game down and resort to full-time playmaker. Having him attempt to do those three without emphasizing his biggest asset is selling he and the team short. It’ll be hard for him to play under these conditions, and with a so-so schedule ahead (@ CHI, @ TOR, @MIL, WAS, GSW), Rivers has a tough decision on his hands.
In the offseason you can’t plan for a situation such as this. Granted Doc Rivers and company slightly botched the offseason in terms of filling fits than decimate the teams weaknesses, this can’t be blamed on him. They came into the season with three point guards on the roster, one being a superstar, you’re typical backup and the inexperience young guy. The young guy in Maalik Wayns suffered an injury in the preseason bringing the group down to two before the injuries took the team captive. Now, in the situation that Collison’s injury is worse than expected, they’ll have to rely on Darius Morris, a young guard who has played on three teams in three years, to have an increased role, likely playing behind Jamal Crawford who’s be thrusted into the starting lineup. Did I mention he’s near the tail end of his second 10-day contract? Signing him subsequently after that expires means he’ll be on the roster for the remainder of the season.
With no game on the schedule today, the team will likely rest Collison and see how his toe reacts once they prep to play Chicago. If he’s good to go, he’ll continue to play in the starting lineup. If not, this team will be forced to adopt the “next man up” philosophy and hope whomever fills in for him, rather it be Crawford, Hedo Turkoglu, Morris or a D-League/veteran signee, can keep the ship afloat.
Boy have injuries killed the vibe of what is the biggest season in Clippers history.