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Sebastian Telfair is aching to get back into games

The point guard's early Clippers career has been slowed by a hamstring injury. The team plays Maccabi Tel Aviv at Staples Center tonight.

October 20, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Not quite prime time, but it was as close as it possibly can get for the Clippers.

Which is why watching Sunday's preseason game against the Lakers was particularly tough for the Clippers' Sebastian Telfair. There was a big crowd on hand and it had a quasi big-game feel at Staples Center for the point guard stranded on deck.

"It's extremely frustrating, especially a night like tonight," Telfair said after the Clippers lost by six points to the Lakers. "It's the closest thing you're going to get to the real season right there. It's kind of frustrating."

His early Clippers career has been slowed by an injured right hamstring, limiting him to one preseason game. There will be two more chances to get in game action before the regular season opens Oct. 27 against the Lakers.

The first is tonight's game with Maccabi Tel Aviv at Staples Center, with all proceeds going to benefit Migdal Ohr, the world's largest orphanage.

Telfair said he was about 90-95%. He tested the hamstring on Monday but Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy and the training staff wanted to wait before making a decision. "We'll see what the reaction is to that," Dunleavy said. "If he's in, somebody else will be out."

The favored plan was to sit Rasual Butler, but Al Thornton (right arm) is being called doubtful for tonight's game, and that could change things. If Telfair is ready, then the Clippers could rest Baron Davis.

Telfair could probably play if this was the regular season.

"At first I probably still wouldn't have been able to play, but these last couple of days I would have been back," he said.


Air Griffin

Telfair and his Clippers teammates were almost giddy in the aftermath of rookie Blake Griffin's spectacular flying dunk over Lakers center DJ Mbenga in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

"His nickname is Amazin'," DeAndre Jordan said of Griffin. "His new nickname is Amazin'."

Jordan shouted over in the locker room to Telfair, saying: "Bassy! Bassy! Amazin', right?"

Telfair: "Amazin'."

"It was a good pass, I just tried to go up and finish," Griffin said. "I don't keep track of a personal highlight film. Something like that was fun. Still gotta get better."

He drew kudos from Kobe Bryant and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. Telfair declared that was only the beginning for Griffin. "Just showing everybody what he's going to be doing all season," Telfair said. "That's his nickname. Amazin'. That's what we gave him, the first day he walked in."

Who came up with it?

"Me," Telfair said. "The first day."


Roster updates

The Clippers cut their roster to 15 players, waiving guards Jerel McNeal and Anthony Roberson.

Both played sparingly in preseason. McNeal appeared in two games and Roberson three, including seven-plus minutes against the Lakers on Sunday night.

This means one decision remains for the Clippers regarding the roster -- guard Kareem Rush's status -- and it will likely come down by Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Rush has looked sharp, giving the Clippers more depth on the perimeter and averaging 6.2 points in five exhibition games.


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