Chauncey Billups made his return to the court for the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night as the team faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Billups was out for more than nine months after sustaining an injury to his left Achilles tendon in a game against the Orlando Magic on February 6 of this year. Prior to the injury, Billups averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.5 rebounds a game.
“He’s been practicing for about a month,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said before the game. “He’s been cleared from his injury for quite a while now, but a few weeks ago he tweaked his back. So it was more precautionary.”
“I was just so excited to be back after such a long time,” Billups said after the game. “I’ve only played full court like three times since the injury, so knowing that, I’m trying to be patient with myself.
“It’s going to take a little while. I got back pretty far ahead of schedule,” Billups added. “To be honest, I was going to be back before this, but there were a couple of small setbacks, which was expected, because I had to recalibrate my body for playing an intense level of basketball.”
Although Billups’ stats were on the meager side when compared to his averages, his team is undoubtedly glad to have him back and even more so after he managed to seal the win for the Clippers in the last twenty seconds.
“I have all the confidence in him that he’s going to get back to playing at a high level again,” Del Negro added. “He’s not in game condition right now, and he’s not supposed to be. But I think he’ll handle the minutes he gets. I just want to work him in. We’ll monitor his minutes and have consistent dialogue throughout the game. It’s a process he’s going to have to work through and we will have to work through as a team.”