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Ready or not, let the games begin for Clippers

The Clippers, most notably Blake Griffin, are a little banged up on the eve of their exhibition opener, but that's hardly unusual.

October 04, 2009|Lisa Dillman

There was an injury to their No. 1 draft pick before training camp started, and, once the official practices started, there was one to the oldest player on the roster and another to the backup point guard.

Bring it on.

The games, that is.

The Clippers are familiar with this sort of thing, of course. They can only try to keep it under control, hoping the injury damage is confined to the preseason.

They will play their first game in nearly six months -- their regular-season finale was back on April 15 -- Sunday night at Golden State against the Warriors, at 6 p.m.

There was summer league in Las Vegas, in July, but that mainly featured an anonymous cast and the Clippers' kids, No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin and the three rookies last season, Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and Mike Taylor (waived shortly thereafter).

Griffin, who injured his left knee four days before camp opened, will not play against the Warriors but could be cleared for contact in practice in a few days. Also sitting out will be backup point guard Sebastian Telfair, who was acquired in a four-player deal with Minnesota in July. Telfair injured his left foot during a drill at camp.

Joining them on the injured list is the veteran big man, 35-year-old Marcus Camby, who suffered a hyperextended left knee at practice Friday. He did not take part in Saturday's lone session at Playa Vista and watched from the sideline.

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said Camby was questionable for tonight's game.

"He came down on a rebound and there was no contact, no bumps," Dunleavy said. "He just landed wrong and went down to the ground, which was a little scary."

To that end, the rash of injuries presents an opening, of sorts, for the likes of free agents Kareem Rush, Jerel McNeal and Anthony Roberson.

"It may be a game where I have a chance to use some of the guys who have been working hard in camp, trying to make the team," Dunleavy said. "Get them some minutes early just to see where they stand.

"I think we're OK. We're better than we were at this time last year but there's still guys that have to show me something as far as improving where they are at."

Dunleavy and the longest-tenured Clipper, Chris Kaman, had more or less the same answer when asked which player had jumped out at camp in terms of improvement.

The irrepressible Jordan. The kid who is capable of a making a spectacular play and missing a wide-open dunk within a matter of minutes.

"He's just so young and even in his one year at [Texas] A&M, he didn't play a lot of minutes," Kaman said.

Said Dunleavy: "The biggest jump anybody has taken is DeAndre. He's had lot of really good minutes. What he still runs into [is] where he lets his emotions take over for him at times. Where he gets a bad call or something and it affects the next two plays."


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