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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' Eric Gordon to miss at least six more games

Clippers say the second-year shooting guard, their second-leading scorer, will be sidelined at least another 10 days because of a strained groin muscle.

November 11, 2009|Ben Bolch

The Clippers' seemingly unending injury issues became even more acute Tuesday, when they learned that Eric Gordon would be sidelined for at least 10 more days because of a strained left groin muscle.

Gordon, the second-year shooting guard, suffered the injury Saturday against Memphis and sat out the Clippers' embarrassing 112-84 loss to New Orleans on Monday. He will miss a minimum of six more games and won't return until Nov. 23 against Minnesota at the earliest.

Center Chris Kaman said he considered Gordon's absence "a tougher loss" than that of rookie forward Blake Griffin, who has not played this season because of a stress fracture in his left kneecap.

"You lose someone like that, it's tough to know where to pick it up from," Kaman said of Gordon, who is averaging 18.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 38.4 minutes per game. "Guys aren't sure what to do or when to do it.

"It's going to be an adjustment process the next couple of games, guys figuring out what to do without Eric."

Gordon visited a specialist while the Clippers practiced Tuesday and was not available for comment.

In their first game without their second-leading scorer, the Clippers allowed the Hornets to make 10 three-point baskets in the first three quarters Monday and gave up a season high in points for a game. Gordon's replacements, Rasual Butler and Ricky Davis, struggled defensively and made only 11 of 27 shots against the Hornets.

New Orleans' 14-point halftime lead ballooned when the Hornets outscored the Clippers, 34-17, in the third quarter. Kaman acknowledged that the Clippers "gave up and didn't finish the game.

"We definitely didn't have the energy we needed, especially coming out in the second half," Kaman said. "We were too soft. We gave up too easy on plays, we didn't box out. . . . More than anything it was our defense."

Coach Mike Dunleavy put his players through a longer-than-usual film session before practice Tuesday and said it was important to succeed without Gordon and Griffin "because we're not going to have them and we need to win games to give us a chance for when we get those guys back that we're in the [playoff] hunt."

Asked if this year was starting to remind him of a disastrous 2008-09 season when injuries piled up and the Clippers won only 19 games, Kaman said, "I don't want to say that, but it's rough, man. Everybody talks about a curse and I never believe that stuff, but it's starting to hit home a little bit like, man, what is going on here? There's nothing you can do about it, though. You have to keep playing."

Smith improves

The Clippers received better injury news regarding forward Craig Smith, who sustained a lacerated right eye in the fourth quarter Monday when he was poked in the eye by New Orleans' Hilton Armstrong.

Smith said his eye was "a little bit sore" but that the injury should not prevent him from playing tonight against Oklahoma City. He did not practice Tuesday and wore sunglasses inside the Clippers' practice facility to protect his eyes from the light.

--

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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