Clippers forward Caron Butler pulls down a rebound against Spurs power… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
Caron Butler will be in the starting lineup Saturday for the Clippers in Game 3 of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center despite a fractured left hand, said sources who were not authorized to speak publicly on the situation.
The decision was made after Butler practiced Friday and after he saw a hand specialist Thursday, the sources said. Butler, who is right-handed, did some shooting at practice with a brace on his hand.
Butler was injured in the third quarter of Game 1 in Memphis on Sunday and the original diagnosis was that he would be sidelined four to six weeks recovering from the injury, putting his return in late May at the earliest.
Butler was told by the specialist that if he injured the hand any further that the time frame for him to return would most likely remain the same, the sources said.
“He’s a battler,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro told reporters after practice Friday. “He wants to be out there, but we also have to be smart about it.”
Butler didn’t play in Game 2 on Wednesday, getting replaced by Bobby Simmons in the starting lineup and having Nick Young come off the bench as the reserve small forward.
Butler had indicated to The Times before Wednesday night’s game that he wanted to play in Game 3, but that he would visit the doctor first before making a decision.
With the best-of-seven series tied at 1-1, Butler has decided that he can deal with the pain in his hand and that he will start for the Clippers.
Clippers want to push back against Grizzlies
Clippers hoping to make a statement at home
Grizzlies overpower Clippers in Game 2 victory
Caron Butler to start for Clippers despite injury