Jamal Crawford return imminent

LOS ANGELES -- Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who has been out since March 29 with a strained left calf, said Wednesday he will return before the end of the regular season.

He is targeting a return next week and could come back Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets or next Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers' last game of the regular season.

"I just know it will be before the end of the season," Crawford said when asked when he would return. "We only have three left... I'm sure I'll be able to get out there before the end of the season."

Crawford has missed the past five games with the injury and eight of nine last month with the same injury.

"I don't want the first game to be in the playoffs," Crawford said. "That's tough to try to get in a rhythm." .