After the Clippers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night with Chris Paul sitting out because of a bruised right kneecap, Coach Vinny Del Negro didn't offer encouragement about his All-Star point guard.
"Chris is going to be out," Del Negro said. "Hopefully we get him back soon, but other guys have got to step up."
That most likely means that Paul won't play against the Suns in Phoenix on Thursday night or against the Trail Blazers in Portland on Saturday night.
Paul missed three games after injuring his knee in a loss to Orlando on Jan. 12, but he came back to play against the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
He then re-aggravated the injury against the Golden State Warriors on Monday and hobbled throughout the game.
Del Negro said Paul got an exam before the Thunder game that "came back good."
The Clippers didn't practice Wednesday, but Paul was scheduled to get evaluated again before the team left for Phoenix.
"It's a day-to-day thing," Del Negro said Tuesday night. "How long, I don't know. But I don't want to bring him back and then he's out again like this time. So we'll be as cautious as possible and try to work through it."
Eric Bledsoe will start again, and it will be his fourth game starting in place of Paul this season.
"We've just got to handle the games we need to handle and get our energy back," Del Negro said. "I believe we will and I have confidence in the guys."
Crawford an All-Star?
The Clippers are making a push for reserve guard Jamal Crawford to make the Western Conference All-Star team as a reserve. The team has emailed information to the other 29 NBA coaches about Crawford's body of work this season.
He is averaging 16.6 points per game this season, tied for second-best on the Clippers. Crawford also ranks in the top five in the NBA in plus-minus, top five in points scored in the fourth quarter and leads NBA reserves in games he has scored 20-plus points off the bench, according to the team.
Crawford probably will get competition at the guard position from Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, Houston's James Harden, Golden State's Stephen Curry and San Antonio's Tony Parker. Each of them starts for his team
Del Negro, who is not allowed to vote for his own players, said Crawford deserves to be an All-Star.
The All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday.
"Just because of our record and what he means to our team and the performances in terms of his scoring, his playmaking, the attention he draws every night is definitely worthy of an All-Star spot," Del Negro said. "The statistics prove it."