LA Clippers looking to get healthy for opener

Luckily for the Los Angeles Clippers, there are still eight days before the regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. Head coach Doc Rivers needs a number of his key players to get healthy–and the good news is that most of the players should be ready by Oct. 19.

Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, and Austin Rivers are all dealing with injuries. Meanwhile, rookie Sindarius Thornwell sprained his right ankle in practice.

Gallinari could play in the remaining postseason contests, and the team is planning to be conservative with Beverley’s sore right knee. Dekker, too, could return during the preseason. The only unknown for opening night is Austin Rivers, who figures to be one the first men off the bench.

Doc Rivers has lamented the lack of consistency, which remains a concern even if all the players return for opening night. Injuries have prevented Rivers from instituting his entire playbook–a necessity with nine new players.

Both Gallinari and Beverley are expected to start as newcomers. Milos Teodosic also figures to start at point guard, and he will make his NBA debut against the Lakers. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan remain the two constants in the lineup.

“You can sustain them during the year because you’ve already got your stuff in, especially when you have new guys,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s harder during camp because when you have this many new guys, you need them to practice so you can put your [plays] in.”

Beverley suffered his injury during a preseason tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers. Rivers said the team will sit him as a precaution.

The Lakers are also looking to get players healthy for opening night. Lonzo Ball has missed preseason time with an ankle injury, while Andrew Bogut has battled illness. Ball is expected to start, and Bogut should act as the backup center to Brook Lopez.

By opening night, however, both the Clippers and Lakers should have predominantly healthy lineups. The season kicks off on Oct. 19 at Staples Center.

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