At some point soon, Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his staff anticipate this team will be unencumbered from the injuries that have wrecked them during training camp.
The Clippers are eyeing Sunday as that day when they might almost be whole again, when they might get almost all of their injured players back for a practice session.
Austin Rivers (strained right glute), Danilo Gallinari (strained left foot) and Sam Dekker (strained left oblique) all are expected to practice Sunday; the Clippers are taking Saturday off.
Starting guard Patrick Beverley (sore right knee) and rookie guard Sindarius Thornwell (sprained right shoulder) are not expected to participate then.
“It sounds like this week we’re going to have a full deck,” Rivers said before the Clippers’ 104-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center. “That’s what I’m hoping for.
“It sounds like other than Patrick [and Thornwell], I think right now we’re hoping everybody else is on the floor for practice. Patrick and Sindarius will be out.”
Rivers had planned to sit some of his key players in Friday night’s final exhibition against the Lakers because it is a back-to-back game.
He doesn’t plan on backing away from sitting Blake Griffin (18 points against the Kings), DeAndre Jordan (13 points, 14 rebounds), Milos Teodosic (six assists) and Lou Williams (14 points).
“I’ve never really encountered this many,” Rivers said of the injuries. “The problem is you want to rest some guys who have been playing preseason games. Like [Friday], we’ve got to make sure we have enough guys so we can rest some guys. That was the intention when we did the schedule with the back-to-back. Our guys would play one game and not the next. So, tomorrow will be interesting, like, who do we do play?”
Rivers said he’ll probably play “seven players” against the Lakers.
And just to make things even more interesting, Jamil Wilson, who was having a good camp as one of the players the Clippers signed to a two-way contract over the summer, didn’t play against the Kings because of lower back spasms.
But having so many players can be beneficial for someone like rookie point guard Jawun Evans.
“There’s always someone who’s going to benefit when other guys aren’t playing,” Rivers said. “It allows us to see guys probably in different spots, different positions as well. So, there’s always something you can gain no matter how dire your injuries are. You can still gain something out of it, and that’s what it would be for us, just seeing some of the other guys play.”
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