Randy Foye, barring any last-minute setbacks, will be the first of the longer-term injured players to return to the Clippers' lineup.
Foye is targeting Saturday night's game against the New York Knicks at Staples Center for his first game back after injuring his left hamstring. That would be three weeks to the day since he "tweaked" it in practice.
He will just miss out on playing at Minnesota on Wednesday against one of his former teams, the Timberwolves. The first positive sign for Foye was when the pain in his leg started to diminish. Then the discomfort, the pulling motion he felt when he tried to explode, vanished this week.
"They were telling me, 'It's going to get better. It's going to get better,' " Foye said at practice Tuesday. "And as I run, I'm like, 'Man, this is not feeling any better.' But these last couple of days, I've started to really turn the corner."
He felt encouraged by playing several games of one-on-one, and spoke about getting back out there and to "try to fight with the troops."
Unfortunately, the thinning ranks of the troops are showing. The Clippers (1-10) have lost six straight games, six of their 10 losses have been by double digits and they are off to their worst start in 12 seasons. Their starting five against New Jersey on Monday was the youngest in Clippers history at 21.4 years.
"If it was easy, everybody would do it," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's hard stuff. It seems easy, but you're managing a lot of personalities, a lot of young kids, trying to keep their confidence up.
"We're not in a position to make a lot of adjustments, which you need to do during games. Even though our turnovers were down [Monday], the turnovers we had were points for them."
And the turnovers are coming at key junctures of the game.
"We're playing hard, but we're not playing hard the whole game," Del Negro said. "We're having some lapses and that's just youth. They've got to go through growing pains."
The Star-Ledger reported that New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris won't be suspended by the NBA for his Flagrant 2 foul, the rough takedown of Blake Griffin in Monday's game. Harris was ejected from the game in the second quarter, and it looked as though the Clippers were ready to step out and react to the foul.
Luckily, Clippers veteran Brian Cook and the assistants were on hand and held some of the kids back.
"When your teammate gets hit pretty hard like that, you've got to want to go out and try to protect him," Cook said. "But with the rules — we're already down five guys or something like that. As a veteran, I just tried to hold everybody back.
"And the coaches were obviously there holding everybody back and did a good job. We tried to get a spark from it and just couldn't get it done."
Joked Del Negro about Harris: "Those little guys can't hurt Blake."