Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
According to Broderick Turner of the LA Times, Chauncey Billups has his target for return later this month, while Grant Hill is looking at extended time on the inactive list.
Billups, who started at SG in 20 games for the Clippers last season before going down with a torn achilles, is recovering from surgery. After wanting, and being unable, to return for this year's opener, Billups now could be ready for game action this month, targeting LAC's November 26th matchup with the New Orleans Hornets as a possible date for return. He could also make his season debut two days later against the Timberwolves.
Chauncey will eventually settle into a starting role on this team, but coach Vinny Del Negro could choose to ease the former Finals MVP guard into the rotation off of the bench at first. Willie Green has been starting in place of Billups, but has been fairly underwhelming so far and poses no thread to the starting job long term. Once Billups is at full strength, it will be interesting to see how Del Negro divides the 96 minutes at the guard spots between Billups, Green, Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, and Jamal Crawford.
Grant Hill, who signed for the Clippers' bi-annual exception this summer (2 years at just under 2 million a year), has yet to make his debut in Los Angeles after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee during the pre-season. Initially expected to miss only 2 weeks, Hill's return time is still vague, but he won't be in a jersey until at least late December.
Fortunately, this Clippers team has the depth to allow Hill as long as necessary to rest his knee, as journeyman Matt Barnes, a late add to the roster, has played impressively in the former All-NBA 1st Teamer's stead, playing scrappy defense and rebounding at an outstanding rate of 5 per game despite not being able to find his jump shot early in the season. Unlike his fellow fill-in Green, Barnes' level of play ensures him minutes even once Hill and Billups return.
Turner has no update on Trey Thompkins' bone bruise, but as of November 4th the second year forward from Georgia was out indefinitely and expected to meet with the medical staff to assess his situation in 2-4 weeks.