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CLIPPER REPORT

Richardson Injures Ankle

November 13, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

You're up one minute, the next you're down.

After posting career highs of 32 points and 16 rebounds in the Clippers' 115-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, guard Quentin Richardson sat through the last half of Wednesday's practice after rolling his left ankle.

His ankle wrapped tight and propped up onto a folding chair, Richardson watched quietly from behind the baseline as his teammates ran through drills.

The minor injury is not expected to keep him out of Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors at Oakland, nor did it temper Coach Mike Dunleavy's belief that Richardson can be a consistent scoring threat for the Clippers.

Through four games, Richardson is averaging 21.3 points and 8.5 rebounds, up from 9.4 and 4.8 last season, when injuries limited him to 59 games.

"He's about as good a post-up [shooting] guard as you're going to find," Dunleavy said of the 6-foot-5, 238-pound fourth-year pro from DePaul. "There aren't a whole lot of guys like him in the league.

"When I first came in [after being hired by the Clippers in July], I said right away to our people, 'Look, I can turn this guy, worst case, into Bonzi Wells. He can play inside and outside. He's a scorer.'

"I said, 'Depending on who we're playing, what the matchup is, I'm pretty confident we can get him the looks he needs to score, or make the defense have to help out so much that he creates other opportunities for guys. He's going to make other guys better because he has to be double-teamed.' "

Dunleavy also encouraged the Clippers to re-sign Richardson, who will be a restricted free agent next summer, before the season started.

"I think that he's going to have a great year," Dunleavy said during training camp, "and sometimes you need to make bets. I'd bet on him."

However, the Clippers probably will let other teams establish Richardson's value before deciding what they want to do.

*

Chris Kaman played three minutes Tuesday after playing one minute Friday, but Dunleavy said he has not lost confidence in the rookie center.

"We'll continue to play him and build on his minutes," Dunleavy said. "The last couple games, I haven't played him in the second half. I've probably shortened my whole lineup.

"I want to play young guys; I want to give them their minutes. But I also want to win, so I'm trying to mix that [and] make sure I get us some experience. But you've got to earn it. The way you play is by doing positive things out there."

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