JJ Redick (back) leaves Mavs game, could be out a while


In a game where all focus was spent remembering the DeAndre Jordan-Dallas Mavericks debacle and how the Clippers were unable to get a victory over a lesser team, the lasting memory of tonight’s nationally televised game between Los Angeles and Dallas will be starting shooting guard JJ Redick leaving the game with what has been announced to be a back injury and missed the second half of the game.

Finishing with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting (2-of-3 from three) and 1 block in 13 minutes of play, Redick’s injury occurred toward the beginning of the second quarter.

While he doesn’t draw the attention of the Chris Paul‘s, Blake Griffin‘s, and DeAndre Jordan’s of the world, Redick is arguably the most important piece to this offense, at least in the sense of how the offense operates. Without his spacing, his off-ball movement, his three-point shooting, what the Clippers run in the half court becomes predictable, resembling the pick-and-roll HEAVY offense used under Vinny Del Negro. And without Redick, the floor shrinks, meaning less space for Paul out of the pick-and-roll and for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan around the rim.

Following the game, Rivers said Redick would be ruled out of Thursday’s game against division-foe Phoenix Suns, and reading into his words it could be a while before we see JJ back on the floor unless he miraculously recovers.

Dating back to Redick’s first season with the Clippers, this’ll be the third year in a row the shooting guard has dealt with a back injury. In February 2014, a bulging disc in the lower back put Redick’s playoffs in jeopardy, but the guard recovered in time to hit the floor though it was evident he was hampered by the injury and not his usual self. In February 2015, back spasms forced Redick to miss four games in late January/early February, and now, more spasms.

Digging into a long-term outlook this isn’t good news for Redick, as he’d surely hope to pursue a lengthy NBA career as long as his body can keep up with the on-court activity. But as we’ve seen time and time, back injuries are often the cause of players declining before Father Time comes into play. The most notable of instances when thinking of back injuries are that of Larry Bird toward the latter end of his illustrious career (the Celtics Hall of Famer hurt his back shoveling gravel) and Steve Nash, both who, toward the end of it all, could be seen lying down on their backs during games instead of traditionally sitting on the bench. There’s even a murmur of fear for fans who’ve enjoyed LeBron James as back injuries are becoming a familiar norm for the four-time MVP. Redick is no different from the above so it’ll be something to keep an eye on, especially as Redick’s contract ends after next season.

At the moment, it’s unclear who’ll start in Redick’s spot; my guess would be either Austin Rivers or Wesley Johnson, and there’s a slither of a chance Rivers sees this as an opportunity to call up 2014 first-round pick CJ Wilcox from the D-League, as the University of Washington product’s game draws similarities to that of Redick’s, relying on off-ball movement and three-point shooting to be an impact player — which hasn’t been proven in the NBA but in theory, he somewhat fits the bill and is a much better fit on paper than alternative options are

In the seven games prior to tonight’s Dallas matchup, Redick was averaging 15.4 points on 51% shooting and 1.9 assists per game.