The story behind Jamal Crawford’s face mask

By Vincent Bonsignore

BOSTON – When it comes to the mask Clippers’ guard Jamal Crawford wore Sunday to protect his fractured nose against the Boston Celtics, this wasn’t the case of modern medicine or technology ruling the day.

Just an example of good-old fashion ingenuity.

And while it wasn’t on par with the NASA control room devising instruments on the fly to help get Apollo 13 home safely, Clippers trainer Jason Powell deserves plenty of credit for coming up with the face contraption that allowed Crawford to play Sunday with some peace of mind.

“He made it out of scratch,” marveled Crawford, who was so unsure he’d come up with suitable protection it wasn’t until he arrived at the arena Sunday morning before he decided if he could play or not.

That he did is a tribute to Powell, the longtime Clippers trainer who built the facemask between practice Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

With the game falling on a weekend and Crawford fracturing his nose Friday night in Toronto, there was little time or opportunity to seek out professional help from a medical supply company. That meant Powell and Crawford had to put their heads together to come up with a gadget that protected Crawford’s nose but also provided ample breathing room and didn’t distract him from playing basketball.

The final result was something straight out of Hannibal Lecctor and the Silence of the Lambs, but it did the job and that’s all that counts.

“I’ve never had anything on my face before, but it feels OK, Jason did a great job,” Crawford said.

Crawford was skeptical based on what he was working with the previous night.

“We were messing around with stuff last night and I didn’t have this,” Crawford said, pointing to the facemask. “I can show you pictures of the other stuff, but it didn’t look like this.”

By the time he arrived at TD Gardens Sunday, though, the new and improved mask was at his locker ready for us. Thanks to Powell, of course.

“He’s gifted,” Crawford said.

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