Jordan dealing with sprained thumb as Clippers face Suns
LOS ANGELES — The health of center DeAndre Jordan was a major concern for the Los Angeles Clippers heading into Monday's matchup against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.
Jordan suffered what was initially diagnosed as a sprained right thumb in the third quarter of Sunday's 88-75 win over the Utah Jazz.
Jordan, who was in noticeable pain, went to the bench and was treated by a trainer before returning to play almost five minutes in the fourth quarter. He finished with seven points and 16 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Jordan was examined more extensively Sunday night. The Clippers said an X-ray was negative, meaning Jordan does not have any broken bones.
“I was worried because I saw the swelling in his hand,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “When it's that quick, that's never a good thing. Then, he went back in and I started feeling a little bit better.”
The Clippers (2-0) have relied on Jordan, their defense, rebounding and key contributions from their bench to start the season well. They limited the Jazz to 39.7 percent shooting and enjoyed a slight edge in rebounding (49-43), an area the Clippers were lax in last season.
“We've just got to continue to grow and continue to defend,” said backup guard Austin Rivers, who delivered a game-high 19 points against the Jazz.
Reserve forward-center Marreese Speights, who joined the Clippers as a free agent after three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, has come up with crucial plays in both of the team's victories. After scoring 15 points in the season-opening triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, Speights drew four offensive fouls against Utah.
The Suns (0-3) will continue charging toward a win. Sunday's 106-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors came on the heels of setbacks to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings.
“The wins are going to come this season,” said forward T.J. Warren, who had 26 points against the Warriors and has been one of the early surprises for the Suns.
Warren is averaging a team-best 22 points per game with seven rebounds. He scored a career-high 30 against the Thunder.
“So we're not worried; we've just got to continue to play hard. My teammates are doing a good job of finding me and I just have to stay aggressive” Warren said.
The Suns also have injury woes.
Guard Devin Booker, who showed much promise last season by scoring 13.8 points per game in his rookie campaign, is nursing a sprained big toe. Booker got hurt in Friday's loss to the Thunder. He was bothered by the toe against Golden State, managing just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.
“Devin's tough,” Suns coach Earl Watson said. “But if you watch him, he's been limping around a lot. He has no excuses, but we need him to be efficient and he has to be healthy to be efficient.”
Eric Bledsoe, a former Clipper, is off to a solid start. Bledsoe is averaging 16 points and 5.7 assists per game.
Phoenix's Tyson Chandler remains one of the NBA's top defensive centers, averaging 12.7 boards per game.