Clippers starting point guard Patrick Beverley will be out after he underwent surgery Friday morning for a right hand fracture, the team announced in a statement. Beverley is set to be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks, but there is no timetable for his return.
It’s the latest in a string of unfortunate injuries for the Clippers guard, who has played just 31 games this season, with many of those appearances coming with a strict minutes restriction. He was playing in just his second game back after missing 12 games with knee soreness when he fractured his hand chasing a rebound in the fourth quarter against the Suns last night.
If Beverley misses the 3-4 week period mentioned in the release, he would potentially return between the team’s May 1st game against the Denver Nuggets and their May 9th game against the New York Knicks. In each case, he would have either 8 or 5 games to get into a rhythm before the Clippers conclude their regular season and the playoffs begin. However, a return in the first week of May is probably unlikely–the Clippers suggested that he would be re-evaluated in that window, but cautioned that an actual return date was unknown and he would be out indefinitely.
The resulting situation might not be unlike last season in the bubble, when Beverley suffered a calf strain, missed the team’s 5 final regular-season games, and attempted to return for game 1 of the playoffs but ultimately missed the remainder of the first round. When he actually returned for the team’s second-round series against the Denver Nuggets, his minutes were drastically restricted and he simply wasn’t himself in terms of both being fully healthy and being in rhythm. However, new Clipper Rajon Rondo actually also found himself in a similar situation last season. He fractured his thumb in the pre-restart practices inside the Orlando Bubble and missed all eight of the Lakers’ seeding games and their entire first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. But when he returned for the second round, he hit the ground running, serving as one of the Lakers’ best role players during their title run.
Rondo will now be among the Clipper guards tasked with taking on greater responsibility in Beverley’s absence. While he’s also sidelined for tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets, expect Rondo to receive serious consideration to start at point guard. His main competition for the role will be tonight’s starter, Reggie Jackson, who has had a strong season and started 28 games as an injury replacement. Additionally, Jackson and Rondo serving as the team’s only two point guards will surely free up new opportunities in the backcourt for youngsters Terance Mann and Luke Kennard, both of whom have been squeezed out of the rotation.