LOS ANGELES -- For the past two days, every player on the Los Angeles Clippers roster was healthy enough to practice and every player on the roster, except for J.J. Redick, will be healthy enough to be in uniform Saturday when the Clippers play the Detroit Pistons.
It’s probably the healthiest the Clippers have been this season, and the four-day break with just 13 games left in the season couldn’t have come at a better time for injured players and those trying to work their way back into the rotation.
No one knows that better than Clippers forward Jared Dudley, who started the first 42 games of the season and played in every one of the first 63 games of the season before being sidelined for three games with back spasms. His absence and inability to make shots consistently when he has been on the floor has completely knocked him out of the Clippers’ rotation.
“He’s just not in the rotation right now,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s healthy and working his way back. At some point he’ll be back in and helping us. I really believe that.”
The only way Dudley was going to work his way back was with the two days of practice the Clippers have had during their mini break, considering that the Clippers hardly ever practice and even in a couple of blowout situations Dudley hasn’t come off the bench. Dudley has not played in the last seven games and hasn’t played at all since March 4.
“Once I got hurt I thought I would come back and start playing,” Dudley said. “I just look at it as you have to be ready and be professional. You have to be a pro’s pro through the good times and the bad times. You cheer the team on like you’re supposed to, you’re at practice and you work hard so when your name is called you’ll be out there prepared.”
Dudley, who was traded to the Clippers along with Redick last summer for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler, has struggled through the worst shooting season of his career in Los Angeles. He is shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 35.4 percent from beyond the arc and 58.7 percent from the free-throw line. He was a career 41-percent shooter from beyond the arc and 80-percent from the free throw line coming into this season.
During the course of the season, and coinciding with Dudley’s demotion from the starting lineup, the Clippers also signed Hedo Turkoglu, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Danny Granger, who have taken up the minutes that might have gone to Dudley earlier in the season.
“We’re a team that’s deep,” Dudley said. “We’re a team that can go far and everyone’s just got be ready and wait for your opportunity.”