DALLAS — On Jan. 1, 2011, Caron Butler went down because of a ruptured right patella tendon at Milwaukee when he played for the Dallas Mavericks, his season ending after knee surgery four days later.
Nearly a year after the injury, Butler played in his first regular-season game, this time as a Clipper when they played at Golden State on Dec. 25.
With the 2011-12 regular season winding down, Butler said he's just starting to get his knee right after the serious injury.
"My legs are getting more and more under me," Butler said. "I feel more and more explosive as time goes on. I'm feeling more comfortable going to the basket and finishing and doing things."
In the process, Butler said, he's having to learn how to play with a group of new players who seem to come and go frequently.
Butler had 13 points on six-for-12 shooting and two rebounds against the Mavericks on Monday night.
"I'm still finding my place on this team," he said. "Your role changes, rightfully so. I'm playing with two superstars [Blake Griffin and Chris Paul] that have the ball the majority of the time. So it's about just playing off of them and finding my niche.
"It may not be scoring as many points. It may be being a facilitator or hitting the open shot or playing off the baseline or nurturing someone on a play, or whatever the case may be. As long as it ends up with a 'W' [win], I'm cool with it."
Williams showing improvement
Before the Clippers played the Mavericks, Mo Williams was on the court shooting. He has sat out the last six games because of a sprained left big toe.
But Williams felt good enough to shoot and to say he hopes to play soon.
"I think I can be ready by the end of this week," he said. "I hope that's the case. I've been working hard to get ready."
The Clippers play at Sacramento on Thursday and against the Kings again on Saturday at Staples Center.
Clippers start April off right way
The Clippers finished off a harrowing month of March in which they played 20 games in 31 days.
Even with that in the bank, the Clippers knew that April presented a tough challenge as well.
They started the month having to play 14 games, nine on the road.
The Clippers started April with a victory over Dallas.
"We knew that we had 14 games left and nine of them on the road, so it's good to start off with a win like this, especially knowing that we control our own destiny," Paul said. "Right now we don't have to look at the standings and say 'you hope this team loses, you hope this team wins.' As long as we win, we'll be fine."