Darren Collison out; Barnes returns

Updated: October 26, 2013, 7:04 PM ET
By Jovan Buha | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Darren Collison missed the team's final preseason game Friday night against the Sacramento Kings with a bruised left kneecap.

Coach Doc Rivers said Collison injured his knee in an on-court collision Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz. After trying to practice on Thursday, Rivers could tell Collison was struggling and decided to sit him as a precaution.

"He's doing good," Rivers said, before quickly adding, "He's not going to play tonight. So we're going to play Willie [Green] or whoever else at the [backup] point guard spot. … He got banged a little bit in his knee in the game. It's nothing bad or anything like that, but he couldn't go much yesterday, so I sat him and would rather not play him.

Through seven preseason games, Collison has averaged 16.4 points on 51.4 percent shooting, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals in 28 minutes.

Fortunately for the Clippers, forward Matt Barnes made his preseason debut against the Kings.

Barnes returned to practice Thursday for the first time since suffering a left calf strain at the start of training camp that forced him to miss more than two weeks.

"When I first started going again I think we went too hard at the beginning and that set me back a few more days," Barnes said at practice Thursday. "But we should be ready to go."

With guard J.J. Redick and forward Reggie Bullock making their preseason debuts against the Jazz on Wednesday, Rivers hoped that Barnes' return on Friday would indicate the roster was fully healthy. But with Collison out, Rivers must wait a few more days to get his wish.

"We didn't have one game in preseason with our full team, but that's OK," Rivers said. "I'm hoping that we're not the only [team]."

As for who Rivers expects will be ready to play for the Clippers in their regular-season opener Tuesday night against the rival Los Angeles Lakers?

"I think everybody," Rivers said. "It'll be the first time we've had our real team. If you had to make a choice, you'd choose the regular season [to be healthy]. So it'll be good."

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