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Eric Gordon's uncertain status adds to Clippers' road woes

Guard, who did not travel with the team for a two-game swing through Texas, is having issues with an injured wrist. He might still join the club in Dallas or Houston.

January 24, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers guard Eric Gordon is checked on by a trainer after a hard fall during the game against the Golden State Warriors.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon is checked on by a trainer after a hard fall during… (Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire )

Reporting from Dallas — Without prize shooting guard Eric Gordon, the road-challenged Clippers this week could be facing their most difficult test of the season.

And that's really saying something, considering the first half has been checkered with misfortune, most of it injury-related.

Gordon, who has been bedeviled by a variety of injuries the last few days, did not fly with the Clippers on Monday for the start of a two-game trip in Texas. They play the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Gordon's sprained right wrist is the primary focus. He injured it when he fell hard on his back in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. There is a possibility Gordon could join his teammates in Dallas or in Houston.

"He's going to go get it evaluated by another doctor today," Coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday. "And then probably fly into Dallas or see what the doctor says and see how he feels. Probably a game-time decision. We should know more [later].

"He didn't practice today and we want him to get evaluated a little bit more. We'll make that decision as we go."

Gordon, the team's leading scorer and averaging 24.1 points and 4.5 assists, had MRI exams on the wrist and back Sunday and they did not show damage beyond the sprained wrist. Del Negro said that there was still some swelling but that the wrist was "a little bit better" Monday.

"We want to be smart and protect him," Del Negro said.

The first of Gordon's injuries occurred Wednesday when he suffered a torn tendon in his right ring finger. He is wearing a splint on the finger for protection.

Even with Gordon, the Clippers have struggled away from home. They have played 16 road games, the fewest of any NBA team, winning only three. They lost their first 11 on the road before a team meeting in Detroit lighted a spark.

Should Gordon be sidelined, Randy Foye would start at shooting guard and rarely used Rasual Butler would probably get back in the lineup. Gordon has scored 20 points or more in the last nine games.

After Saturday's game, a four-point win by the Clippers over the Warriors, the easygoing Gordon expressed displeasure with the consistency of the officiating.

"They're not calling fouls," he said. "The game is getting a little bit too physical. And that's why things happen how they are."

Del Negro was asked about Gordon's comments, and he spoke about the play that caused the latest injury.

"In the air, that's where it gets a little bit different," Del Negro said. "Same thing with Blake [Griffin] when he jumps for lobs or guys come under him a little bit. That's where we've got to support them and things like that.

"But the game is played at a fast speed and we've got to protect those guys as best we can."

Andris Biedrins was called for a foul on the Gordon play late in the third quarter but not a flagrant foul.

"It was close," Del Negro said. "I'd have to look at it again. I don't know. If he fell without his wrist behind him, maybe he doesn't hurt his back or his wrist as much and bounces right back. Depending on the referee crew, that can go either way sometimes.

"But it didn't look to me to be a malicious, vicious hit right off the bat."

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