It’s looking kind of gloomy in Atlanta, and I’m not talking about the weather. The Los Angeles Clippers will be without J.J. Redick as they start a seven game road trip against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night. Redick is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after breaking a small bone in his right shooting hand in Sunday afternoon’s loss against the Indiana Pacers. He also tore his right ulnar collateral ligament. This is a big blow for the Clippers and a huge setback for Redick, who was off to the best start of his career.
Willie Green will once again fill in at the starting shooting guard position much like he did last season for the oft-injured Chauncey Billups. Green is a proven veteran who should be able to hold down the fort until Redick comes back. Jamal Crawford will still come off the bench but play a heavier dose of minutes, especially in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, rookie Reggie Bullock will see more time off the bench because Matt Barnes is still recovering from eye surgery. It’s yet to be seen whether the Clippers will add another player with their open roster spot, but Redick’s injury significantly increases the chances they sign a free agent.
The Clippers’ starting unit continues to grow defensively as the season goes along while the bench seems to be stagnant. Bullock and Darren Collison aren’t known for their defense, but they still have room to grow under head coach Doc Rivers. They must get better quickly if the Clippers want to have a successful road trip.
The 10-day trip includes six games against Eastern Conference teams and two back-to-backs. The Clippers return home Dec. 16 to face the San Antonio Spurs, who will be looking to spoil their homecoming.