Chauncey Billups out vs. Lakers

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups said he won't play in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, but is hopeful he can return from a nagging groin injury before the end of the regular season.

"I'm getting better," Billups said Saturday. "I hope to play before the season's over for sure. I want to play every game. If I don't play until the playoffs, OK. But I'd like to play a few more times before the playoffs start."

Billups has played in just 20 games this season with an assortment of injuries. His absence has been frustrating to both him and the team, but coach Vinny Del Negro said Saturday he thinks Billups is such a savvy veteran, that the team will be able to develop chemistry whenever he's able to return.

"It's been hard on him and hard on the team because there hasn't been any consistency," Del Negro said. "But injuries are part of the game. Willie Green has done a fantastic job for us stepping up. Hopefully Chauncey can get healthy here, the last few games of the season, and we can get some rhythm.

"You're always going to be better when you have Chauncey out there not only physically but the level mentally that he brings. He can make plays off the dribble, he stretches the defense, he has great experience."