HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Los Angeles Clippers’ worst fears became a reality this evening when it was announced by the team that Chauncey Billups is done for the remainder of this season with a torn left Achilles suffered in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s win over the Orlando Magic.
An MRI on this afternoon in Cleveland, where the Clippers are as they wait for Wednesday night’s game against the Cavaliers, confirmed the severity of the injury.
Billups is set to return to Los Angeles Thursday for examination from the team’s medical staff, though a date for surgery has not yet been determined. A five-time All-Star, the Clippers claimed Billups off waivers in December after the New York Knicks cut him to make room for the signing of Tyson Chandler.
Billups played a pivotal role for the Clippers this season, starting at shooting guard alongside Chris Paul, and averaging 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in 30.4 minutes per game. It’s a devastating blow for a Clippers team that leaned on Billups as much for his play as it did his leadership and championship experience.
“I feel sick for him,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne. “He’s such a pro. After the game last night it was bittersweet. Everyone was just quiet in the locker room, quiet on the plane. People know how much Chauncey means to us — his character, his leadership. Not only his ability to play at a high level, but his character and the intangibles he brings. That’s why we brought him here. I just feel sick for him.”
“It’s a tough one,” Del Negro said. “He was just getting everything figured out. He was playing great. He’d just hit three 3s in a row, then he turns the wrong way running back down the court.
“It’s tough, but we’re going to do whatever we can as a team an organization to move forward.”
if any team has the backcourt depth to weather the loss of a veteran star it’s the Clippers. Paul, Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Eric Bledsoe can all be used interchangeably in the playing rotation.
But losing Billups is about losing more than just minutes and a lethal scorer and efficient game manager. They’re losing one of the league’s most respected players, a guy that led the Detroit Pistons to a Larry O’Brien trophy, collecting The Finals MVP trophy along the way.
It remains to be seen just how they will make up for the loss of all the intangibles Billups brings to the party!