Coach Doc Rivers said after Blake Griffin suffered a concussion during the Clippers’ loss Saturday to the Golden State Warriors that he “just wants fighters right now.” The more the Clippers fight, the more they seem to suffer, though.
“You back up to no one,” Rivers said he told the injury-depleted team after it lost by 16 points to the defending NBA champions. “You know we’ve got all these injuries, so you step in and don’t back up. If they’re better, let them be better, but make them be better.”
Griffin is one of four opening-night starters who could be sidelined for Monday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks. Patrick Beverley (knee surgery), Danilo Gallinari (glute) and Milos Teodosic (foot) could be out when the Clippers try to end a two-game losing streak.
Plus, Austin Rivers, who has started in place of Beverley, won’t play because of an ankle injury.
Teodosic was listed as questionable to play Monday and the others were ruled out.
The first order of business Sunday for the Clippers was to summon Brice Johnson from their G League team in Ontario. Johnson could fill Griffin’s roster spot Monday and until Griffin is cleared to play again. He was concussed when he was struck by an accidental elbow in the first quarter Saturday.
Griffin entered the NBA’s concussion protocol when he was diagnosed during the game. He and the team must adhere to strict guidelines adopted by the league and he cannot return to the court until he is free of concussion symptoms, is examined by a physician and passes an exertion test.
Then there are further steps that must be taken until he’s cleared to play, including transitioning from riding a stationary bike to jogging to agility work to non-contact drills with teammates. He cannot be cleared until he is asymptomatic. Timetables cannot be established in advance.
Tyrone Wallace made his NBA debut Saturday and scored 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting with three rebounds, three steals and two assists in 31:28. He’s likely to play significant minutes for as long as the Clippers are without fellow guards Austin Rivers and Teodosic.
Beverley is sidelined for the rest of the season after undergoing right knee surgery Nov. 22.
Doc Rivers had a simple third-quarter message for Wallace, who signed a two-way contract Saturday after playing in the G League to start the season: Play hard, don’t back down, do what you’ve done, play how you’ve played with Ontario.
“He just told me to be aggressive,” Wallace said of their mid-game conversation. “He said he thought I was passive. I think he knows how I play and I play aggressive, so he just told me to go out there and play my game, and that’s what I tried to do from that point on.”
Powered by RFPRADIO.COM