Rivers on injured guard Crawford: ‘It’s good to see him in anything but street clothes’

Jamal Crawford was in back in his practice uniform and on the court at the Clippers training facility on Monday, exactly three weeks after he injured his calf. 

He was just shooting free throws before practice began, and once it started, he was off the floor. Still, it was quite a welcome sight for the Clippers.

"It’s good to see him out there," Doc Rivers said. "I think I’d rather see him out there (pointing to the practice court). But it’s a first step."

Crawford was barely walking after he first injured the calf and needed a golf cart ride to the locker room when he was at Staples Center.

He’s walking freely now — Monday was the first time Crawford donned his practice gear in three weeks.

"I wouldn’t read that much into it," Rivers said. "But he’s feeling better."

Crawford has a deep right calf contusion and a team official said on Sunday that he had the leg drained recently because of excessive hemorrhaging.

There are just 11 games left over the next three weeks left before the postseason starts, which means there’s precious little time for Crawford to get healthy and return. 

"I know we need him," Rivers said. "I’m concerned. I don’t lose sleep over it. I have faith he’ll be back. There’s concern he may not be and that’s not a good thought."

Crawford, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is averaging 16 points per game and was a leading candidate to win the award for a second consecutive year before he sustained the injury to his calf in Minnesota on March 2.

"We need him and we want him back but we can’t rush it," Blake Griffin said. "He’ll come back when he’s able to. He’s a huge part of our team, not just off the bench but he’s finishing games for us a lot of times and hitting big shot after big shot. We definitely need him, but like I said, we can’t rush it.

Crawford has told Rivers he’s feeling better, but Rivers said trainer Jasen Powell didn’t mention Crawford’s addition to the pre-practice routine on Monday, so Rivers didn’t take that as a major obstacle being overcome.

"It’s good to see him in anything but street clothes," Rivers said. "That’s nice."

Crawford, a popular and well-liked teammate, not just for his contributions off the bench and ability to hit big shots down the stretch in games but his easygoing personality.

He won’t make the three-game roadtrip to New York, Philadelphia and Boston with his Clippers teammates, either. Crawford will stay back in Los Angeles and continue to do pool work and work on circulation exercises. 

Paul has told him not to worry about now because the Clippers will need him in the playoffs.

"You can control what you can control. He’s trying to get healthy," Chris Paul said. "H’s doing all the treatment possible. He should be back soon, I hope."