An MRI exam Tuesday revealed that Clippers guard Chauncey Billups has a torn left Achilles’ tendon. Billups, who was injured in Monday’s overtime victory over the Magic in Orlando, Fla., will be out at least eight months, ending his season.
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro revealed Billups’ status to Times columnist T.J. Simers during a lunch interview. Del Negro had gotten the news from Clippers trainer Jasen Powell by phone.
Billups, 35, was a key figure in the Clippers’ rise to second place in the NBA’s Western Conference this season. He teamed with point guard Chris Paul to form an extremely talented backcourt for the Clippers, who are enjoying one of their most successful starts in franchise history.
They lead the Pacific Division at 15-7 and have won the first two games of their six-game road trip.
Billups fell to the court midway through the fourth quarter of Monday’s game and had to be helped from the arena. He was unable to put weight on his left leg.
Billups was averaging 15 points and four assists this season and playing about 30 minutes a game. It is not yet clear what the guard rotation will be without Billups, though the roles of Randy Foye and Mo Williams will probably be expanded.
Of all the starters, this is the injury that the Clippers can sustain the best. Chauncey was big in the Orlando road victory, as well as in Denver. His three point shooting and clutch play will be missed. However, the Clippers have a glut of guards that can fill Chauncey’s place that include the streaking Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Eric Bledsoe. Of course, Chauncey’s injury might ratchet up the desperation to sign J.R. Smith upon his return from China, but that’s a story for the future.
I think that Bledsoe could be the biggest to gain here, considering that he’s played shooting guard before (alongside John Wall). He’s also the strongest, the longest, and potentially the best defender at the shooting guard spot.
We all wish Chauncey a speedy recovery, as well as a big thanks for his contributions so far in the season.