LA Clippers’ Austin Rivers set to return Wednesday

first_img“Geez, he’s been killing it,” Rivers said. “And he’s been telling me every day, ‘When you coming back, man, when you coming back?’ “Rivers averages 8.1 points and 1.3 assists in 21.6 minutes for the Clippers. His father, head coach Doc Rivers, will welcome him back on the court with open arms.“Yeah, it’ll help, obviously,” the elder Rivers said. “I’ll probably take some time to get him in a rhythm, but it’s earlier than we thought. He had a great workout yesterday with the coaches and so, yeah, that’s a good surprise.”No timetableDoc Rivers confirmed that injured power forward Blake Griffin (quad tendon, fractured right hand), who has not played since Christmas night, has been shooting for about a week. But he also said that doesn’t mean Griffin is nearly back.“He’s not close or anything,” Doc Rivers said. “So, I mean, he’s just shooting the basketball.”Asked what’s next, Rivers said, “What’s next is his hand healing. It’s just going to take time. Again, there’s no way around that.”Griffin fractured his hand Jan. 23 when he punched team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi. Griffin also must serve a four-game suspension once he’s healthy; he was fined a fifth game’s pay for injuries he sustained punching Testi.A partially torn left quad tendon is what initially put Griffin on the shelf.This and thatWith buyouts in the fold right now, Doc Rivers was queried as to whether he’d like to add a player. “We’re always interested, if it’s the right guy,” he said. However, Rivers said, “If we went into the playoffs with what we have, I’m very happy.” … Rivers said he didn’t know whether he’ll sign forward Alex Stepheson to a second 10-day contract. He signed his first Feb. 20. PLAYA VISTA >> Austin Rivers walked toward a group of reporters assembled at the L.A. Clippers’ training facility ahead of Sunday morning’s practice. Although the team’s reserve guard was still wearing protection on his left hand, fractured Feb. 3 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was also wearing a sly smile.“First practice back,” he said. “Full practice. No limitations.”No wonder Rivers was happy. He has missed nine consecutive games and Monday night’s against Brooklyn (17-42) at Staples Center will make 10. He expects to return Wednesday when the Clippers (38-20) host Oklahoma City.“For sure,” he said, when asked if he’s chomping at the bit to get back out there. “I’m excited to get back and be with my teammates again and compete with them again. Just to get back playing.” Rivers is right-handed, so this is not his shooting hand. He said if it were, it might be a bit longer before his return. But he said he’s a quick healer and though his hand is still a bit sore, he’s ready to roll. From a conditioning standpoint, he indicated he has no concerns because he has been staying in terrific shape.“That’s all I’ve been doing is running,” he said. “I have good wind. I feel pretty good.”Rivers said he’s been shooting for about a week and his hand has undergone “a ton of therapy every day.”Starting point guard Chris Paul figures to be one of the happiest teammates upon Rivers’ return because Paul’s minutes have gone up since Rivers went down. Paul is averaging 33.1 on the season. Counting the game in which Rivers was hurt because the injury happened early, Paul has averaged 36.4 minutes the past 10 games.Paul has weathered that storm in tremendous fashion and is coming off a Friday victory at Sacramento where all the 6-foot star did was score 40 points, dole out 13 assists, grab eight rebounds and make two steals; for good measure, Paul made all 10 of his free throws.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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