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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' Eric Gordon is adjusting to sitting out with injury

It's a tough time for the Clippers, who lost their top scorer just as the team was looking vastly improved, too.

January 28, 2011|By Jim Peltz

For Eric Gordon and the rest of the Clippers, these are uncharted waters.

Gordon is sidelined for three to four weeks with a sprained right wrist, the longest period that the third-year pro has been idled by injury.

And for the Clippers, the absence of Gordon, 22, means they are without their leading scorer as they prepare to face the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center on Saturday night.

"Just resting it," Gordon said Friday after the team practiced at its Playa Vista facility, his wrist wrapped in a black brace. "We've just got to see what happens on a day-to-day basis."

Gordon, who was averaging 24.1 points a game, suffered the injury in a fall during the Clippers' 113-109 win over the Golden State Warriors last Saturday at Staples Center.

He not only sprained the wrist, but he also had what was described as a "small bone chip fracture," and the right-handed Gordon said the injury was still painful.

Gordon then skipped the Clippers' trip this week to Dallas and Houston, and it was evident he was missed as the Clippers lost both games. In their 96-83 loss to the Houston Rockets, the Clippers scored a paltry 10 points in the fourth quarter.

The injury occurred just the Clippers (17-28) were showing vastly improved play compared with early this season. They are 6-4 over their last 10 games but have lost three of four.

"It's not easy when you lose two starters," Coach Vinny Del Negro said of Gordon and center Chris Kaman, who has been out since Dec. 5 because of a sprained right ankle.

"The ball was in Eric's hands a lot," Del Negro said. "So we've got to spread the wealth a little bit, which maybe is a good thing. The other guys got to step up and play."

Dealing with the injury and the lengthy layoff is "a whole different process for me," Gordon said, noting that he continues to work out to keep up his endurance but can't yet do anything with the basketball. "Just sit there and watch the games [and] learn what I can do when I get back and try to help the team," he said.

Gordon said he is confident that the Clippers can keep winning until he returns. "They're right there in games without me," even though "there have been times where there were letdowns," he said.

Griffin's stamina

Speaking of uncharted waters, rookie Blake Griffin, 21, is finding out just how long and grueling an NBA season can be. In his final college season at Oklahoma, Griffin played 35 games, which is less than half as long as an NBA regular season.

Griffin, who is averaging 37 minutes a game, acknowledged that he was low on energy after the back-to-back games in Dallas and Houston, which also capped five games in eight days for the Clippers. And with Griffin playing well, rival teams have been exceptionally physical defending him.

"Blake's playing a lot of minutes, and he's going to have to right now until we get a little healthier," Del Negro said, adding the Clippers have "got to do a good job of monitoring" Griffin so that he doesn't get too fatigued.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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