I had a bad feeling about J.J. Redick's wrist. When Redick took that tumble against the Sacramento Kings on Friday it did not look good. The most common injury from roller blading is a broken wrist, and those people are just falling off their feet. Redick was at the height of his jump when he was inadvertently upended by DeMarcus Cousins, and while J.J. may not have the greatest vertical leap in the league, it was still a long way to fall. When he popped up and stayed in the game, I thought the Clippers had dodged a bullet. But when he went back to the locker room, and especially when the wrist swelled up, it did not bode well.
Initial X-rays were negative, but X-rays are a relatively imprecise tool. They don't show any soft tissue damage, and they lack the precision to show smaller fractures. Redick had an MRI on Saturday in Los Angeles, and the results were about as bad as they could have been, given the preliminary X-ray results.
Not only is there ligament damage in the wrist, but it turns out there is in fact a fracture after all. Here's the press release from the Clippers:
The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that guard J.J. Redick suffered a fracture in the small bone (pisiform) of his right hand and a tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the second quarter of the Clippers 104-98 win over Sacramento on Nov. 29.
Redick is expected to miss approximately 6-8 weeks, and will be re-evaluated on Monday, Dec. 2 by hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin to determine further course of treatment.
And lest we forget, Redick is right-handed, and a shooter. He kind of needs his right wrist.
Until he sees the specialist, I'm not going to take that 6-8 week estimate too seriously. It could be a little shorter if it's a hairline fracture and a minor tear; it could be longer if the injuries are more severe. That's why he's seeing the specialist.
On the bright side, the injuries the Clippers are currently accumulating happen to be at positions where they are relatively deep. Obviously Chris Paul's hamstring is a major issue regardless of depth -- you can't lose one of the top three players in the league without it having an impact -- but beyond that, the Clippers are quite deep on the wings, and even with both Matt Barnes and Redick out, Reggie Bullock and Willie Green stand at the ready to fill in. Does it hurt? Sure; Bullock and Green were further down the depth chart for a reason. But the team can much more readily withstand injuries on the wing than anywhere else on the floor. Basically, it's the one place where they can take a few hits and be expected to continue to perform at a high level.
Barnes could be back soon if we are to believe the original time frames given for his retina tear. If Green can hit open threes at anything close to the rate he did last season, he can help mitigate Redick's loss. And clearly Jamal Crawford, posting career highs in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, can play more minutes. Rivers will almost certainly leave Crawford in the bench role at which he excels, sliding Green into Redick's starting spot, just as Vinny Del Negro did last season when Chauncey Billups was out. But Crawford will be called upon earlier and for more minutes than he was with a healthy Redick. The closing wings for the Clippers, which seemed like a dilemma for Rivers earlier in the season, has at this point worked itself out via injury -- Crawford and Jared Dudley will be on the floor at the end of any close games.
We've said many times that Redick was the perfect fit at shooting guard next to Paul. We've seen glimpses of how good that combination can be, even a few full games where everything was clicking, and it's an exciting vision. It's a shame to lose him at this point, but if he comes back at full strength for the final two to three months of the regular season, we'll barely remember that he was out.