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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Billups returns to 'scene of the crime'

By Arash Markazi

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chauncey Billups smiled and shook his head as he looked at the Orlando Magic court at Amway Center on Wednesday.

"Man," Billups said. "Scene of the crime."

It was one year ago to the day (Feb. 6, 2012) when Billups tore his Achilles tendon late in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers' 106-102 overtime win over the Magic. Fast forward to 2013 and Billups was on the sideline as the Clippers beat the Magic, 86-76.

Billups has played only three regular-season games since his injury. He has fully recovered from his ruptured Achilles but has been dealing with peroneal tendinitis in his left foot.

"I have some great memories in this town and in this building," Billups said. "I also have some terrible ones like last year. It's always mixed emotions. ... It's crazy, a year to the day, same building, same team, same time. It's weird. I'm just happy that I'm better now. I can walk and move and run and jump. It's a long road, but I'm better now."

As much as Billups will always remember last year's game, he was not upset that he could not play in the game one year later.

"This date is a date I'll never forget, but it wasn't very significant for me whether I played or not," Billups said. "Wherever it is I want to play as soon as possible."

Billups was one of four Clippers along with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford who sat out Wednesday. Paul originally hurt his right kneecap with 54 seconds left in the Clippers' 104-101 loss to the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12 when he collided with Orlando guard J.J. Redick.

Given the Clippers' history of injuries against the Magic, it was understandable for them to be cautious Wednesday. The injuries bled over into the training staff Tuesday when head athletic trainer Jasen Powell ruptured his Achilles tendon as well while running on the Magic court.

"That was crazy. It's weird," Billups said "They are not nice to the Clippers here."

It has been hard for Billups to sit and watch the Clippers from the bench for all but three games over the past year, especially now as the Clippers struggle without Paul in the backcourt.

"It's hard," Billups said. "It's hard because I know if I could play right now I could help, but I'm not quite ready. It's hard to sit out when we're struggling. These are kind of the dog days of the season and we have to keep plugging away."

Billups said he would return to practice Thursday and if all goes well he could be back on the court by the end of the week.

"It will give me a better gauge on if I'm where I think I am," Billups said. "I feel good right now, but I haven't really gone full court. I'll get a more honest gauge of where I am (Thursday.)"