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Clippings: Chauncey Billups and Reggie Jackson were the team’s first ‘excused absences’ of the season

Expect that term to become a fixture of the NBA lexicon this year.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers were without two members of their team during Sunday’s preseason game against the Lakers. Assistant coach Chauncey Billups and backup guard Reggie Jackson were both absent from the team bench, after being present Friday, because of a term that will become very familiar to NBA fans this season: an “excused absence”.

As a league source told the L.A. Times, “an excused absence applies to scenarios that include either a positive or inconclusive result or because of reasons related to contact tracing.” Billups and Jackson were the first such absences of the year, but as the league continues play during the pandemic, it’s hard to believe they’ll be the last.

When head coach Ty Lue was asked after the game if he knew how long Billups and Jackson would be away from the team, Lue simply said “no” and declined to elaborate on how that would impact the group.

Paul George was a little more effusive in how the team is handling this situation.

“I mean, this is part of the job,” George said. “Other leagues have been successful under these conditions. It is part of the job. We hope for no one to get it and everyone to stay healthy. But realistically, it’s probably not going to happen. But I think everyone is taking the steps to just make sure it doesn’t spread and we keep this league going.”

As a way of helping teams deal with players coming in and out of the roster all season, the NBA already agreed to allow two-way players to spend up to 50 games with the parent team in 2020-21, compared to 45 total days previously. Over the weekend, it was also announced that the competition committee voted to expand active rosters to 15 players from 13. That doesn’t necessarily help teams that are missing players, but it might help teams slowly bring back players who have missed time due to the protocols.

It can be hard to focus on the basketball with all of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, but the Clippers are doing their best to follow the rules and adapt to whatever happens as the calendar progresses. That’s all we can do too.

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