Feb 7, 2012, 6:58 PM EDT
After watching Chauncey Billups have to be helped off the court Monday night, everyone feared the worst but was coming but hoping against hope it wasn’t true. It is.
Chauncey Billups out for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
Usually these injuries take 12 to 18 months to heal, which makes you wonder if the 35-year-old guard with a lot of miles on those legs will ever set foot on an NBA court again. He told Yahoo Sports’ Adrain Wojnarowski he plans to make a comeback.
“I will be back. I’m not done. I’m not retiring….I will play again.”
If not, this is a sad way to see it end.
Billups had gone from being a hometown hero leading a good Nuggets team to being shipped out against his will to New York as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. He adjusted, found his footing there then when the Knicks made a play for Tyson Chandler they unceremoniously used their amnesty clause to let him go. The Clippers picked him up and that was not a place he was looking to land at first, but once he got there and saw what was building in Los Angeles, he settled in and fit in well.
Billups had to adjust this season once the Clippers picked him up — Chris Paul is the Clippers point guard, Billups called himself a second point but really had to play a two guard a lot more off the ball. He had found his way — he had 11 points in the first half of the fourth quarter before his injury Monday — and the last week or so was playing his best basketball of the year. What’s more, he was the veteran, steady presence late in games that could help a young Clippers team grow and be a force in the playoffs.
The Clippers have guard depth — both Mo Williams and Randy Foye will likely get a lot of time with the first unit to see who is a better fit. As pointed out at NBA.com, when Williams has been on the floor the Clippers offense has been better but the already not great defense has been much worse. With Foye it’s the opposite, the defense gets better but the offense struggles some. The Clippers also can toy with lineups as they have Eric Bledsoe just returning and Kenyon Martin about to join the team. But neither of them are a two guard.
The Clippers have a couple of trade exceptions and may go after J.R. Smith as well (although they can only offer the veteran’s minimum).
The Clippers will find their way.
But this is a sad way to see a great player — a finals MVP and gold medalist — like Billups go out.
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