In many ways, Willie Green is the invisible one playing for the Clippers.
Green was the starting shooting guard for the first 14 games of the season while Chauncey Billups rehabilitated from his left Achilles' tendon injury, then he didn't play in the next three games when Billups started, only to return to the starting lineup when Billups suffered tendinitis in his left foot. In each case Green seamlessly eased into his role.
And he's just fine with that.
"I like to be under the radar," said Green, who is averaging 6.2 points on 48.1% shooting, 42.9% on three-pointers this season. "I know how my teammates feel about me. I'm confident in what I bring to the table. And more than anything, this is a great platform to display my character, my spiritual maturity.
"Sometimes it is those guys that are the invisible guys that are so key to teams winning basketball games. This is not me promoting myself. But I understand that everybody plays an important role. I don't need to have the accolades or the hype in order for me to understand that."
Asked how he has been dealing with his own injury, Green just smiled.
He has cartilage problems in his right knee and that kept him from playing in those three games Billups started.
"It's not something that's going to stop me from going out there and being productive," Green said. "Sometimes these are the cards you are dealt with in the NBA. Everybody has little knickknack injuries. So we're just managing it."
Green will be back in the starting lineup Saturday when the Clippers play the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Green said whether he starts or doesn't play at all, it's his job to stay prepared.
"I know being in this league, circumstances happen," Green said. "I'm one of Chauncey's biggest supporters of him coming back because I know what it takes to play at a high level after having that injury like he had. We wish him a speedy recovery.
"But in the meantime, we have to hold the fort down. I want to come in and be ready to help this team win games until Chauncey is inserted back into the starting lineup."
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Friday that Billups won't play Saturday or Sunday while he recovers from what the team called "peroneal tendinitis in his left foot."
Del Negro said there is no timetable for Billups' return.
The peroneal tendons run along the outer ankle and are vital to the stability of the ankle and foot.
"When he's ready," Del Negro said about Billups, "he'll tell us."