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Clippers forward Ike Diogu's hopes are rewarded

The former lottery pick's 'wild ride' carries him to a nonguaranteed contract with L.A.

December 23, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

From working out at a health club in the South Bay to playing on the same team as Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon.

Yes, you might say it has been a tumultuous week for former lottery pick Ike Diogu. The power forward signed a nonguaranteed contract with the Clippers on Wednesday and scored eight points and had three rebounds that night against Rockets.

"It's been a wild ride … but it's been a fun one as well," Diogu said after the Clippers' practice Thursday. He was signed after the Clippers suffered a rash of injuries. "It sure beats what I was doing. Just working out and waiting for something to happen.

"I never gave up hope, but I came up with a deadline. At a point, I might have to start looking at other options. Luckily, the phone call came before I had to make that move."

Diogu had microfracture surgery on his left knee about a year ago, and only started working on the court in July. The Pistons cut him in training camp.

"The toughest thing about the surgery, aside from the rehab, really, is once you get back on the court being able to get your feel," he said. "That's the one thing I underestimated. When I went to training camp with Detroit, I just wasn't all the way there. And that was one of the reasons they let me go.

"Since then, I've made a bunch of strides, and I'm feeling good on the court now. "


Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro spoke about his decision to sit Gordon for the entire second quarter of the loss to the Rockets after Gordon picked up two early fouls.

The move was decidedly unpopular with Clipper Nation. Gordon played only 5:20 of the first half and was scoreless until the third quarter.

"In this job, when you win, things make a lot more sense," Del Negro said. "When you lose, there's a lot more finger-pointing and questions to be answered. That's just part of being a coach in pro sports."

Del Negro said he did consider putting Gordon back in the game.

"The problem is he picked them [the fouls] up so fast," Del Negro said. "I thought about bringing him back with about seven or eight minutes to go in the second quarter but we had made a nice run and we got it back. The problem was when I was going to bring him back, we were still managing things fine.

"With about three or four minutes we were down seven or five, and we had a couple of turnovers and it went from about seven to 13. And at that point, to bring him back and if he got his third [foul] at the end of the half didn't make a lot of sense.

"Blake [Griffin] had a couple of fouls and Ryan [Gomes] got in early foul trouble. We've just got to be smarter at the beginning of games."

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