Well this isn’t good. A second MRI on Austin River’s right foot (after he experienced soreness following practice) revealed a “right ankle impingement” per Clippers PR. He will be sidelined two weeks before being re-evaluated. That re-evaluation could lead to a return shortly thereafter, but more likely he would be out a little longer after that.
The Clippers were just starting to get into a rhythm with Blake Griffin and Milos Teodosic back, and this upsets their rotation greatly. Austin is their second best perimeter scorer and one of their best shooters— his loss puts even more pressure on Lou Williams and Blake Griffin, especially with Danilo Gallinari out as well.
This also pushes the CJ Williams decision to the forefront. He only has a couple days of NBA play left on his two-way deal, and the Clippers don’t have the depth to let him go at this point. A Brice Johnson trade (it would be the easiest way to shed salaries, though a trade of any player would work) either needs to come, or the Clippers will just have to eat the salary tax penalty (unlikely). I’m guessing a move of some kind comes soon, as Teodosic, Lou, Jawun Evans, and Sindarius Thornwell would be the only healthy guards on the roster if CJ goes back down to Ontario. A four man rotation is theoretically feasible, but it’s not great.
Let’s hope Austin gets better soon, and that the Clippers are able to weather this loss without him. It’s going to be rough without him, but this team has demonstrated its resistance to adversity time and again this season. This is just one more obstacle to overcome.