Jamal Crawford update: All signs point to guard’s return next week

Jamal Crawford has that spring in his step back.

The Clippers guard was all smiles before Tuesday’s game and while he didn’t play against the Golden State Warriors, he’s been shooting and working out with teammates and is on this week’s road trip, which starts tonight at Portland (6:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket).

Crawford traveled with the team but won’t play this week, according to a team official, and he could be back next week with the Clippers.

Crawford suffered a right calf contusion on March 2 in Minnesota and has missed 14 games with an injury that was much worse than originally thought, and he once was driven by golf cart to the Clippers’ locker room. He’s expected to miss at least two more games this week, at Portland and then Denver.

"He’s doing a lot better from what I hear," Doc Rivers said. "I haven’t seen him (work out) personally. I’ve talked to him. His talk sounds more confident. Our medical staff talk sounds more confident. I think that’s a good sign."

Asked if he could play next week, Rivers said: "I don’t know that, but I would hope so. That would be great. We’d honestly love him to play be able to play a couple of games before the playoffs start."

Crawford is instrumental in the Clippers’ postseason run. He’s averaged 16 points per game in his role as the Clippers’ sixth man, and the bench has been even more inconsistent without him leading it. He had designs on winning a second consecutive sixth man of the year award before the injury. 

The main thing for his Clippers teammates is that Crawford’s back working out with them. 

"It’s helped us a lot for us to see him work out and be able to be himself and shooting on the court," reserve guard Dahntay Jones said. "That helps us because he’s an integral part of our team. Just to know that he’s OK and he’s going to be able to help us, that’s going to boost us going into the playoffs."

Crawford was shown on the JumboTron, in a suit on the bench, during the Clippers’ 110-106 loss to Golden State on Tuesday. That snapped a seven-game win streak for the Clippers, who have played well despite missing Griffin for five weeks and Crawford for four. 

Crawford got a lot of love from fans, who know they need him during the postseason. 

"Just to see him back to himself laughing and joking in the weight room, shooting, on the court period," Jones said. "Just dressed. That’s great for us."