An earthquake hit Southern California today in the form of a dreaded torn Achilles tendon.
Chauncey Billups of Jack FM’s Los Angeles Clippers hit the deck late in the 4th quarter in Orlando on Monday night. He was retreating back on defense when he went down, untouched, and the collective heart of Clipper Nation skipped a beat.
As the veteran Billups lay on the hardwood it was painstakingly obvious that the news of him facing 8 months of rehab was coming today. Why? Because Billups doesn’t milk anything. He’s a no non-sense coach-on-the-floor who plays every possession like it’s Game 7 of the Finals.
Billups will miss the remainder of the already lockout shortened season. The blow is devastating for the Clippers who are currently second in the Western Conference standings and poised for a deep playoff run.
This is Billups’ first year as a Clipper and his impact cannot be understated on the young phenom Blake Griffin and the rest of team who look to him for leadership. As crushing as this loss is it still could have been worse. Fortunately for the Clippers the team has great depth at the guard position.
All-Star Chris Paul and Mo Williams are having terrific seasons but will likely have to log more minutes while the Clips look to sign a replacement for Billups. Many insiders are speculating that replacement could be J.R. Smith, a veteran swing-man currently playing in China. Until then, coach Vinny Del Negro will look to Randy Foye to share the backcourt responsibilities.
The Clippers did go on to win 107-102 in overtime on Monday. The win was their sixth in seven games and the team continues to look better and better each night. It remains to be seen what Billups’ absence will mean to the streaking club.
The Clippers are in the middle of the “Grammy Road Trip” in which the L.A. basketball teams flea the downtown area to make room for the awards show. They play a pitiful Cleveland Cavaliers team Wednesday night.
Billups will see personal doctors when the team returns home to Los Angeles. Billups averaged 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in 20 starts for the Clippers this season.