Milos Teodosic has been out since the second game of the season with a plantar fascia injury. Danilo Gallinari joined him on the sidelines against the Spurs after leaving the game against the Heat late in the second quarter. What was once being called a “left hip contusion” is now a “strained left glute” for Gallo, which sounds decidedly worse. Patrick Beverley has now been ruled out of Friday’s game as well with a sore right knee.
While this does explain why Bev was so bad against the Spurs on Tuesday night (by far his worst game of the season), his knee acting up against is bad news for a Clippers’ team that was already down two starters. Hopefully Pat is sitting more as a precaution than anything else, but he’s had knee injuries before, so the Clippers must be very careful. Per Jeanne Zelasko of Fox Sports West, both Gallo and Beverley will be out for a bit longer than Friday’s game.
Doc Rivers will have to figure out a starting lineup for Friday night’s game that won’t absolutely cripple the bench as well. Wes Johnson will presumably start again in place of Gallinari, but I’d look out for Jawun Evans to start at point guard in place of Beverley, or for Sindarius Thornwell to get the start at shooting guard, moving Austin Rivers to point guard. While Lou Williams is easily a better option than the two rookies, moving him to the starting lineup would leave the bench without any real playmakers, and that’s something Doc probably won’t do.
Because of all these injuries, Clippers’ two-way guard C.J. Williams has also been called up from the Agua Caliente Clippers for Friday’s game. With the Clippers suddenly thin at shooting guard and small forward, he might even get some minutes. That would have been unthinkable just a week ago, but is not any more.
The Thunder are struggling right now, so the Clippers still have a shot to win this, but it will be tough playing without three starters from Opening Night. Hopefully the bench and the young guys step up when allotted a bigger role. And for those Clippers’ fans who want Doc to give his young players more minutes... you should get your wish.