The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that Matt Barnes, who did accompany the team on their two game road trip, has a retinal tear in his left eye that will require corrective laser surgery. Barnes is expected to be out at least two weeks. Here's the full text of the release from the Clippers:
The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that forward Matt Barnes suffered a retinal tear in his left eye on Monday, Nov. 18 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Barnes will undergo a surgical procedure to repair the retina and is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.
Barnes has appeared in eight games this season and is averaging 5.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.0 minutes per game.
This is another setback for Barnes, who has never gotten going this season. He missed most of preseason, played in the first four games before missing three with a thigh contusion, then played in four more before an errant Zach Randolph slap caused this eye issue. He has struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the eight games he has played, shooting 34% overall and 25% from beyond the three point arc. Barnes was a key part of the Clippers bench last season, a big reason that "A Tribe Called Bench" was one of the best second units in the league. His lack of impact this season is one of the reasons that the bench has been so bad.
The good news is that rookie Reggie Bullock appears ready for a bigger role. He probably won't be great, but he's demonstrated the ability to play solid defense and appears to be a good rebounder. He's certainly not afraid to shoot and looks good doing it: hopefully a few more of those shots start to fall for him.
The good news is that this being an eye injury, as opposed to something mechanical on his body, Barnes should be able to stay in basketball shape during his recovery and there's no requirement for rehab after recovery. When his eye is ready, he should be able to come right back into the lineup. In fact, it could be a blessing in disguise if it allows his other nicks and scrapes and bruises to heal a bit. The two weeks is just an estimate, but if it's accurate, it should really just be two weeks -- not two weeks plus rehab or two weeks plus getting his legs back under him.
The Clippers will be in the middle of a seven game road trip two weeks from now. Sadly, he'll miss some tough games where the Clippers could really use him -- like against Indiana for instance. The schedule finally gets a little softer about when Barnes is due back. So with any luck they can hang on for a couple of weeks, and then go on a nice run in December, just like last season.