Veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu worked out for the Clippers on Thursday, but Rivers said that no signing is imminent.
“It was good. He made shots from everywhere,” Rivers said. “He looked good, it was a good workout, but we’re not doing anything anytime soon. But he did look good.”
Rivers refused to comment on speculation the Clippers might make a bid to sign former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was traded by Cleveland to Chicago and then cut the next day.
“I won’t say. Playing poker right now,” Rivers said. “We’ve had internal discussions about everyone.
“We do talk about everyone. I like our team, though. I tread very cautiously with change.”
It turns out that J.J. Redick, back for the Clippers Friday night after missing 21 games, could have come back a game sooner.
Coach Doc Rivers seemed to wish he had given the green light to Redick to play on Wednesday against Boston, when the Clippers’ bench scored only 12 points (seven for Willie Green, five for Matt Barnes).
With Redick back in the starting lineup, Jamal Crawford and his 16.9-point scoring average can bolster the bench.
“He may have been able to play against Boston, but we went the extra practice with him,” Rivers said. “Honestly, the thing that convinced me . . . but the game the other night and the second unit’s inability to score, let’s get Jamal back in that group as soon as we can.”
Which is fine with Crawford.
“Yeah, you know me, I’m a team player,” Crawford said. “I’ve been Sixth Man (of the Year), I’m comfortable in that position, starting, as long as we’re winning I’m fine either way.”
Redick is finally healed after breaking a bone in his hand and partially tearing a ligament.
“You never know until the day of I guess, but Tuesday when I was able to go through the full practice I figured Friday would be a decent shot if I continued to progress,” Redick said. “There’s no pain. The only issue is just a little stiffness just from being casted for three weeks. I don’t feel things when I shoot or dribble or things like that. My extremes in terms of flexibility are the same as my left hand. I’m good to go. I wouldn’t be playing if I wasn’t.”
Chris Paul woke up Sunday morning and the healing had begun. Even if the hurt lingered.
“I’m cool,” he said Monday, three days after suffering a separated right shoulder. “It’s one of those situations where it could have been worse. I woke up yesterday and was done feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got to approach the rehab and get back as soon as I possibly can.”
Paul was injured in the third quarter in Dallas and an MRI revealed a grade 3 AC joint separation. The good news for Paul was that surgery won’t be required, but the Clippers said he will be out for as many as six weeks.
When he hit the floor and landed on his shoulder, Paul knew it wasn something he’d be able to shake off right away.
“I was mad, that’s why I slammed my mouthpiece,” Paul said before the Clippers tipped with Orlando at Staples Center. “I felt it when it happened, I could sort of hear it and I knew that it was pretty significant.
“The thing that made me mad too was I feel like as an athlete, you prepare and do everything possible to try to not get injured. That’s all that preparation, that strength training, stretching, everything. That was the most frustrating part.”
Paul is averaging 19.6 points and leading the league in assists with an 11.2 average per game.
What the Clippers might miiss most, however, is the hard-driving competitiveness he brings. The Clippers lost a bit of that earlier in the season when J.J. Redick went out with a broken wrist.
“Oh, you’re going to miss it. We miss J.J.,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “J.J.’s one of the more competitive guys on our team as well. Those are the intangibles people don’t see. Clearly we miss J.J.’s drive and his mean toughness, and now the other guy is Chris, and we’re not going to have that. Those are the intangibles beside the play when you lose a Chris Paul or J.J. Redick.”
On the court, the Clippers will make a go with Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford as the starting guards. Crawford has been starting for Redick, who is expected back within about two weeks.
Meanwhile,the Clippers’ bench, already crowded by perhaps the deepest coaching staff in the NBA, one more voice will be heard.
“I’m going to be there every game, sitting out there,” Paul said. “I couldn’t sit out there at San Antonio because I didn’t have a blazer because I wasn’t expecting to get hurt, but I’ll be there every game, every night cheering and talking to the guys, but also being respectful because it’s one of those things where it’s tough to be that voice and that leader when you are in a suit.”
Rivers had a chance to talk to Paul and the the coach quietly enjoyed the reaction Paul had.
“A lot of my friends and family reached out to me,” Paul said. “Everybody was like ‘Everything’s going to be all right, you’ll come back stronger and tougher. I’m one of those people like ‘Right now, it’s not all right,’ honestly, because I want to play and I feel like I need to play.
“You just want to be out there to help your team. Now it’s about doing everything possible day in and day out to get back. And I always say rehab is a lot harder than playing.”
Rivers said the MRI exam result was more of a relief that he didn’t lose his All-Star for longer. Then he went into coaching mode.
“The one thing I told him is we can’t get this injury back, it’s happened,” Rivers said. “Let’s try to look at this that it’s a blessing you’re going to have fresh great legs for the stretch run. That’s the only way you can look at it.”
Guard Maalik Wayns, who been out all season after surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee, was activated Wednesday and was in uniform.
The second-year player from Villanova appeared in six games last season for the Clippers after playing in 21 for Philadelphia after being picked up as an undrafted free agent.
Doc Rivers had a simple message for the Clippers on their day off. Something along the lines of the adage of if you pay no heed to history, you’re doomed to repeat it.
So he made his team watch their performance in the 107-88 loss to Phoenix. Twice.
It wasn’t the entire game, it was the Rivers special cuts edition.
“You’re watching your team play and clearly we had a ton of slippage, maybe from not enough practicing with all these days (of games) that we’ve had,” Rivers said. “You could clearly see it, they could see it.
“I do think film’s important, I think it can be overused and I always worry about using it to make me feel better instead of teaching the players. Sometimes as a coach you get angry watching the film . . . but there’s no benefit from it sometimes. I thought yesterday was a benefit for us because we saw a lot of things as a team that we’ve slipped on.”
So as the Clippers prepared to face another defensive challenge from Charlotte Wednesday at Staples Center, Rivers just wanted to extend a few reminders.
“Our transition defense to start with, which has been unbelievable, was horrendous the other night, as bad as it’s been in a long time,’ Rivers said. “We were breaking a lot of habits, and a lot of them came back in that game.”
Rivers is more of a believer in rest than in repeated practices, but he admits searching for the right combination is an elusive pursuit.
So he’s not necessarily going to add more practices.
“No, we’re going to do the same stuff,” he said. “It’s always a balancing act. If someone has a formula, can you please tell me? Because I don’t know it. I don’t think anyone knows it.
“You try to walk the right line. Sometimes you’re on it, sometimes you’re on the wrong side of it and you keep going back and forth and that’s what we’ll do. Practice more, less shootaround, it’s a balancing act and I don’t think anyone’s got it right yet. Or perfect.”