I love Dan Woike and I think he does a great job covering the Los Angeles Clippers. Obviously this is a very different team in a very different time, but the fact that we have two great newspaper writers back on the beat after the OC Register spent several years shirking their responsibilities is a great thing.
But his blog post about J.J. Redick's injury status struck me as complete non-news.
The team will determine in the upcoming weeks whether Redick is healthy enough to rejoin the team. If he's not, the club will likely shut Redick down for the rest of the season in an attempt to have him ready for training camp next year.
"The club will likely shut Redick down?" What does that mean? Isn't he shut down already? I mean, when Doc Rivers walked up to Redick during the shootaround for the Miami game five weeks ago and said "You're not playing tonight because you're not healthy" wasn't he shutting Redick down? They haven't let him play in games or practice. How much further down can he be shut? Will they ban him from the locker room? Put him in traction? Is it not save to assume that during these five weeks the training staff has been doing what they can to help him get healthy?
I understand the difference between "We still expect him to be back" and "We aren't planning on him coming back" but exactly how would the Clippers approach be any different in the coming weeks? More to the point, let's try on a hypothetical here. It's June 19th, 2014. The Clippers are preparing for Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. Redick goes to Doc Rivers and says, "I feel great coach." Jasen Powell says "Everything looks great" and every doctor gives Redick a clean bill of health. Does Doc say "Sorry, we shut you down before, don't you remember?" They don't get an extra roster spot by "shutting him down." There's zero advantage to be gained here.
Redick is going to play when he's ready to play. We didn't know about the bulging disc before the All Star break when we assumed this was a very temporary thing, but since then, the status has been the same. Backs are tricky things, but unless Redick is considering surgery (an extreme remedy for a disc issue as Citizen Shap has pointed out) then his situation is unchanged. It's rest and core work until his back feels better.
My assumption all along has been that Redick will at least try to play in the playoffs. Again, short of surgery, why in the world would he not? Holding him out of the regular season if it means he'll be stronger for the playoffs makes perfect sense. But unless there's a significant risk that he'd injure himself further, why would you hold him out of the playoffs? What are you saving him for? It would be one thing if this team's ceiling were second round and they were really pointing to next season or the season after next. But the way things look right now, there is no ceiling for this edition of the Clippers -- this may be the best chance they get, especially when you consider the no-budget windfall of adding Glen Davis and Danny Granger late in the year. If Redick tries to play in the playoffs and realizes/confirms that he just can't be effective, fine. But I still believe he'll try.
Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the Clippers will announce that Redick is out for the season at some point, but I would be truly shocked by such an announcement. I just don't see the point. "In the upcoming weeks"? There's only five weeks left in the regular season? How many weeks qualify as "upcoming"?
Not to mention that the tenor of this post contradicts the direct statements of the team and Redick's recent actions. Redick has been ramping up his shooting activity. Rivers has said that he's doing more. It's clear the team is being extra-cautious, it's clear they are concerned. They are being tight-lipped because they don't want to overpromise, and that's a good impulse. But I've been in the room with Doc Rivers when these questions are asked, and I'll tell you that body language and other non-verbal communication has been more positive in recent days than it was a week ago.
For me, Redick's status remains exactly the same. I truly believe that he will play in the postseason, but we'll just have to wait and see how healthy he is and how effective he can be.