After scoring 22 points on 5-for-15 shooting and adding seven assists in 60 minutes in his first three games of the season, veteran guard Chauncey Billups had to sit out Wednesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.
Billups said his surgically-repaired left Achilles tendon was fine, but he’s suffering from peroneal tendinitis in his left ankle. His ankle was so inflamed and weak that he couldn’t jump or change directions adequately during the Clippers’ victory Monday over the Utah Jazz.
The two injuries are unrelated, Billups added.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with for a couple of weeks, actually, even before I played my first game,” he said. “It was something I really wanted to get checked out because I just feel like I’ve worked way too hard to get back to play hurt, you know what I’m saying?”
“Honestly, in that Utah game it was really painful. I couldn’t really push off my left foot. It was just really weak. I couldn’t explode off it. I couldn’t cut. So, everything I was doing I was just getting through it. I should be better than this.”
Billups underwent a battery of tests, including an MRI exam Tuesday, which revealed the ankle injury. Willie Green started in place of Billups at shooting guard against the Mavericks. Green started the Clippers’ first 14 games, but then didn’t play a second in the next three. He had four points in the Clippers’ 112-90 victory over Dallas.
The Clippers aren’t sure how long Billups might be sidelined.
“It’s up to Chauncey really,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He knows his body better than anybody else. … It’s kind of day to day, how the therapy goes, how he feels. … When he’s ready to go, he’ll go. It could be this weekend. It could be two weeks or a month. I don’t have a time frame.”
Billups tore his Achilles tendon during a game last Feb. 6 against the Orlando Magic and underwent surgery Feb. 15. It was estimated that he would be sidelined for between nine and 12 months. He made his 2012-13 debut Nov. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Del Negro planned to limit Billups to 20 minutes per game as he attempted to regain his fitness as well as his basketball form. Billups scored seven points against the Timberwolves, six against the Sacramento Kings and nine against the Jazz, never playing more than 22 minutes in a game.
“I think this is just part of the process,” he said. “Frustrating, of course. To come back and then sit back and wait … I know what it is and I respect the process. I don’t feel down at all. Of course I want to be out there. … It’s all about the marathon for me.”