HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Los Angeles Clippers got the big road win Monday night in overtime over the Orlando Magic, but might have suffered a far more devastating loss when veteran point guard Chauncey Billups went down in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a torn left Achilles’ tendon.
Billups was in the midst of a wicked stretch, he scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and knocked down three 3-pointers in the fourth when he went down without being touched with 5:48 to play in regulation.
“I’m sick about it, sick for us but mostly for him and how much he means to us,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro told reporters after the game. “He was in some pain, and whenever that happens when no one’s around, all the possibilities are out there.”
Billups had to be helped off of the court. He is scheduled to have an MRI when the Clippers make it to Cleveland, where the Clippers will have a day off before facing the Cavaliers Wednesday night.
The Clippers started this season with four point guards on the roster after acquiring Chris Paul in a trade and picking Billups up after he was waived by the Knicks. They joined returnees Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe. They also have Randy Foye as an option.
Even with quality depth at the position, losing a seasoned leader like Billups is a crushing blow for a Clippers team that has surged to the top rung of the Western Conference standings in the past week. If Billups is indeed lost for the season, as was immediately feared, Del Negro will have to do some shuffling with his rotation. Williams has been playing off the bench this season, and thriving in that role, but could now be forced back into the starting lineup with Paul.
Either way, what could be a season-ending and potentially career-ending injury for Billups, 35, changes things dramatically for the Clippers right now.