Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Chauncey Billups has surgery on leg
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- Clippers guard Chauncey Billups underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn left Achilles tendon that has put him out for the remainder of the season.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Clanton in Vail, Colo., where Billups is expected to remain for four weeks before returning to Los Angeles to begin his rehabilitation.
"He had successful surgery and everything went well," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Wednesday night. "He needs some rest and to spend some time with his family. He has a pretty difficult rehab (ahead) and we're here to support him and talk to him.
"He'll be back here. Chauncey's a basketball guy. He wants to be around the team and we want him around the team. He's a great influence for our organization and our team."
When Billups returns to Los Angeles, he is expected to play a meaningful role both in the locker room and on the bench. It will be a similar role to the one Clippers forward Caron Butler played with the Dallas Mavericks last year during their championship run after he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
"He's a veteran guy and he has the respect of the players," Del Negro said of Billups. "Those will be conversations we'll have a little bit. Hopefully we can get him back here as soon as possible."
After already helping to recruit forward Kenyon Martin to sign with the Clippers, Billups has been recruiting guard J.R. Smith to sign as well. Smith is expected to arrive in the United States on Thursday after his Chinese team's season concluded Wednesday. Billups, Martin and Smith played on the Denver Nuggets team that advanced to the Western Conference finals in 2009.
Billups, who was claimed in December after he was waived by the New York Knicks under the league's new amnesty clause, was injured in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 107-102 victory in Orlando on Feb. 6. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 20 starts for the Clippers this season.
Arash Markazi is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com.