PORTLAND, Ore. — Stanley Roberts and his Clipper teammates had something in common at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night. All were trying to get off the floor during the second half.
Roberts needed a stretcher to be helped from the court after suffering a sprained right ankle with 7:58 to play, about the same time the Portland Trail Blazers were flattening the whole group. They shot 58.1% during the second half to beat the Clippers, 122-110, before 12,888.
Clyde Drexler returned for the Trail Blazers after an extended stay on the injured list and finished with 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in 26 minutes. He said afterward that it was the best he had felt all season.
Roberts said his injury occurred when he landed on an unknown player's foot. No determination will be made on his availability tonight at Seattle until an examination today, but Coach Larry Brown said: "I don't think he'll play (Saturday). The only thing that was good about that was that they did not try to carry him off on that little wooden thing."
Danny Manning led the Clippers with a season-high 36 points and nine rebounds, making 11 of 15 field goals and 14 of 16 free throws.
Drexler, starting his first game since suffering the strained left hamstring Feb. 28, played 15 minutes during the first half. Coach Rick Adelman even left Drexler in after he drew his second foul with 5:43 to play in the first quarter.
"It's a different scenario than with other players," Trail Blazer assistant Jack Schalow said. "Guys like Clyde and Terry Porter, you just don't bring them off the bench. They can make too much of an impact. For the psyche, it's just not possible."
Portland went 7-6 with Drexler on the injured list for the second time this season, most recently needing overtime to win at Sacramento on Thursday. The Trail Blazers had won four of their previous six outings.
"This is the time to be playing well and this is the time to be getting healthy," Clipper Coach Larry Brown said before the game. "And I think both of those things are happening for them."
Both were happening during the first quarter at the Clippers' expense, the Trail Blazers taking a 22-8 lead. But behind Manning's 22 points and eight rebounds during the first half, the Clippers charged ahead.
The Clippers led, 64-59, at intermission. Suddenly, it was the Trail Blazers who were playing catch-up, and they had to go the rest of the way without Rod Strickland, sidelined during the opening minute of the second quarter because of a sore right thigh.
Larry Brown will probably have a second hip replacement operation after the season, which is expected to alleviate the pain on his right side in time for training camp.
"I was hoping to wait awhile, but the way I'm feeling now, I'll probably have it done as soon as the season is over," he said. "I'm really bothered by it."
Brown had his left hip replaced in 1987. Doctors have determined that the hip problems originated either from a congenital problem that was never corrected as a youngster or from the wear and tear of Brown's countless games on asphalt while growing up.
To clear a roster spot for Clyde Drexler, the Trail Blazers put Delany Rudd on the injured list because of a dislocated finger.