The Los Angeles Clippers have their sights set on making a run in the Western Conference. They sent Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith packing while bringing on Jeff Green. Now they are waiting for players to return from injuries to have a full roster ready to compete. However, the Clippers do not know when that full roster is coming as both Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers remain out.
Griffin has been doing some light shooting while recovering from a broken hand, but his full return to the court is unknown according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. Griffin has been out since suffering the injury after punching an employee. It has been five weeks since the initial surgery to repair Griffin's hand and head coach Doc Rivers stressed that there are still no expectations of a return.
"I mean, he's not close or anything, he's just shooting a basketball," Rivers said.
Another player the Clippers are aiming to get back sooner rather than later is Austin Rivers who has been out with his own hand injury. Rivers has been cleared for contact and could get back on the court as early as Wednesday according to Woike. The return of point guard will offer some relief to Chris Paul who has been playing extra minutes since Rivers went down.
"He's been telling me every day. He's like, 'Man when are you coming back?' I know he's happy I'm back and I'm even happier," Rivers said. "I'm just glad to be back, just trying to help my teammates."
One player making up for the injuries is Green who is already logging major minutes for the Clippers since arriving from Memphis. The Clippers are hoping that Green is their x-factor to the postseason and topping teams like the Spurs and Warriors. He is helping fill the void of Griffin, but the forward is making it clear that he is still trying to find his way around the team and the new offense.
"It's different personnel. It's a different group of guys so obviously things are going to be different," Green said, via the Los Angeles Times. "So you just got to roll with it and try to find out what I remember from being under Doc in Boston. But, it'll take a few more games and it'll take a little bit more tape and film watching to gather that research."
While the Clippers work Green into the offense and wait for Griffin to return, Chris Paul has been stealing the show. The point guard had 40 points and 13 assists in an overtime win against the Sacramento Kings. Rivers noted that Paul has been more aggressive with all of the injuries and he trusts the point guard to carry the team right now.