The Clippers have won seven games in a row behind their mostly healthy squad, and looked to be rolling into the holiday season. Unfortunately, their luck shifted at least a little last night, as key rotation player Rodney McGruder left the game against the Grizzlies clutching his hamstring. He did not return, and afterwards Doc Rivers said he would “be out for a while”. Not good, especially with Landry Shamet still out (though he’s working towards a return). On games where Kawhi Leonard sits as well, the Clippers depth will be tested.
With McGruder out, Terance Mann, Jerome Robinson, and possibly even Patrick Patterson stand to get more minutes, with Robinson looking like the most likely beneficiary based on Doc Rivers’ recent minute distributions. However, Mann and Patterson both played well in the 2nd half against the Grizzlies yesterday, and if Doc is looking for more defense (Mann) or size (Patterson), either of them could get the call as well. On games where Kawhi sits, any of them could get the start depending on the matchup, and if Shamet remains out as well, it’s possible even Derrick Walton Jr. gets called into the rotation a bit.
Of course, Shamet is on his way back, and as soon as he returns, he will fill into McGruder’s old spot off the bench with Mann likely sopping up any remaining minutes. Shamet is slowly closing in to a return, and he will presumably be back before McGruder - as soon as one of the Clippers gets healthy, another gets injured. Hopefully this doesn’t continue all year, because while the Clippers have mostly been pretty healthy this year, they’ve never had a full complement of players, and therefore haven’t been able to test full rotations or gain chemistry throughout the roster.
Let’s hope Rodney’s injury doesn’t take as long to recover as Doc thinks, and that he’s able to return without any ill side effects. He’s been very good over the past couple weeks, and his defense has been crucial to the Clippers’ improvement on that end. Get well soon, Rodney!