Sep 7, 2012, 9:57 AM EST
When Chauncey Billups tore his Achilles’ last February at age 35, it felt like it might be the end of a fantastic career. But if one guy had the discipline and drive to return, it was Billups. If he was going to fight his way back, the low-end estimates for recovery from that injury of eight months seemed optimistic.
But Billups has put in the work and with the Clippers heading to training camp in October Billups is going to be there — maybe not competing fully from day one, but he will be in the mix.
Billups spoke to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times and sounded very positive.
“When my body feels right, that’s when I’ll be back,” he said. “That being said, I’m far ahead of schedule.
“It’s not even like I had a summer. I’ve been on the whole time, doing rehabbing and other work every day. I’m looking forward to getting back to playing and being with the guys and resuming my normal life as a player.”
Billups scored 15 points a game as the starter at the two spot but more than that provided a veteran stability to the Clippers before he got injured, seeming to calm the Clippers young players down. This season there may be less of that with the team adding veterans Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom — this is more built like a team that needs to win now — but they could use the depth.
Vinny Del Negro says that Billups looks good and was showing some of his go-to moves (crossover then step back jumper) but doesn’t have his “pop” back yet.
But it’s a good sign for a Clippers team that could be the third best team in the West. Billups return from a major injury at age 35 will be part of determining that. Although the bigger questions for the Clippers are if Vinny Del Negro can coach them up to that level and if DeAndre Jordan can take some big steps forward.
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