Billups, Bledsoe return to practice

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
3:04
PM PT
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – Clippers guards Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe returned to practice on Friday and will be game-time decisions for Saturday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Billups missed Wednesday’s game against the Philadelhia 76ers after suffering a right groin strain on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings. Bledsoe has missed the past five games with a sore left calf.

“Bledsoe practiced today and Chauncey practiced but didn’t do any contact,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “So those guys will be evaluated after shootaround tomorrow and I’ll have a better feel before the game.

"Bledsoe looked good and will probably return for the first time since March 7 when he played 15 minutes against the Denver Nuggets and had 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

“He had fresh legs,” Clippers guard Willie Green said. “He was out there running around like 'Speedy Gonzalez.' He looked good. We need him back and I’m happy to see him back on the court.”

Billups has played only 19 games this season while battling through a variety of injuries, but he said Wednesday his groin strain wasn't serious and he felt he could be back on the court in time for Saturday's game.

Bledsoe's injury and recent absence has been one of the reasons the Clippers' bench has struggled and the Clippers have lost four of their past eight games

“He’s big for us,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said of Bledsoe. “He’s capable of completely changing the look of a game. When he comes in he can dodge the ball defensively. It just puts so much pressure on the other team, especially their second string point guard. He pushes the ball, he’s so fast. He does a lot of great things for our second team and allows Jamal (Crawford) to play off the ball and allows Matt Barnes to run the court and (Lamar Odom) to play his game. It definitely changes our dynamic when he’s not out there.”

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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