The Los Angeles Clippers announced that shooting guard Austin Rivers is expected to miss the next four to six weeks with a broken left hand. Initially diagnosed a bruise, the injury was upgraded to a break after the pain persisted and exams were performed. The injury took place during Wednesday’s game against the Timberwolves.
Rivers, a fourth-year player out of Duke, is averaging a career-best 8.1 points per game while shooting 43% from the field. He suffered a previous injury in December — a mild ankle sprain — and missed three games, but played well in the 17 games before his hand injury: 10p/1.7r/1.5a, 48% from the field, and 39% from three. This all came during the time that Blake Griffin spent injured. Although his numbers don’t jump out at you, Rivers was beginning to emerge as a consistent scoring threat off the bench.
Along that stretch, Rivers put up some of his best scoring numbers to date. It started with 26 points against the 76ers on Jan. 2nd, followed by 16 at Portland on Jan. 6th. More recently, Rivers had back-to-back games of 17 and 16. The 17 came against the Lakers on the Jan. 29th, while the 16 came two nights later against the Bulls.
Though this isn’t a huge blow to LA, it’s one that is going to impact them. Rivers doesn’t have the same impact as CP3, Blake, or DeAndre, but he plays well in their victories. Rivers has appeared in 30 of LA’s wins and averages 8.7p/1.8r/1.2a while shooting 46% from the field, and 35% from three. In losses, he averages 6.9p/1.9r/1.5a with a field goal percentage of 40 and a three-point percentage of 17.
His plus/minus is probably the most drastic change of them all: -14.2 in losses, +2.3 in victories.
The Clippers will now have to look for someone to consistently backup Chris Paul during Rivers’ absence. Fortunately, they have a few guys who are capable of running the team. Pablo Prigioni hasn’t gotten a lot of PT this year, but does have the traits of a solid backup PG; there’s also J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford, who could dictate the action if needed.
*Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference*
*Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo*