Nicolas Batum was limited to 14 minutes against San Antonio last week due to achilles soreness, then sat out two days later against Memphis. And yet, he was back the next day against New Orleans, and said postgame, “We have so many guys out. So I had to find a way to play through that.”
Despite Batum’s best intentions, he won’t be able to grit through any more games for the Clippers in the foreseeable future. He has entered the NBA health and safety protocols and will be out for at least 10 days, which is surely not the way the Clippers hoped for Batum to get some rest.
Update: Batum has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per the team. https://t.co/XuuenQ0zIB— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) November 21, 2021
Head coach Ty Lue said that the rest of the team is getting tested, and Lue and the rest of the staff wore their masks while coaching for the first time this season. It’s the first time the team has had to deal with a rotation player contracting the coronavirus since before the 2020 bubble, but adding a player to the injury list isn’t exactly new.
“A lot of teams are going through it, it’s not just us,” Lue said Sunday. “And we gotta continue to weather the storm. I think our guys are doing a great job.”
The Clippers welcomed back Justise Winslow from paternity leave against the Mavericks, and he filled in for ten minutes, but the prime candidate to soak up minutes will be Amir Coffey, who continued to start in Batum’s absence. Coffey had two points, five rebounds, and two assists; the Clippers were a team-high plus-21 in his 25 minutes. He toggled between defending both Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson in the team’s win, and was part of the defining possession when Porzingis couldn’t finish a post-up jumper over Coffey that would have given the Mavericks the lead in the fourth.
The schedule is easing up a bit, as the Clippers only have five games in the next ten days, all of which are at home, but the team is still without Marcus Morris Sr., who would be the natural replacement for Batum. All the Clippers can do is soldier forward without their French knight. They got the job done Sunday.