Clippers open camp with high expectations
by Eric Pincus, Hoopsworld.com
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers opened training camp on Friday with an early media day before their extended preseason that will take them all the way to China.
Their roster has been upgraded with the additions of Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes, Willie Green, Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf.
The team inked power forward Blake Griffin to a long-term extension, which was the franchise’s top priority, according to President Andy Roeser.
“I really like our team this season,” said Roeser. “I don’t see any limit to what we can accomplish as a team. I think the additions with Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill help us at all the positions. I think we come back with a great mix of veterans, young players, experience and savvy and a lot of depth at every position. I can’t wait to see us play.”
The team also re-signed Chauncey Billups, who is still working back from his torn Achilles’ tendon and doesn’t expect to be ready for the team’s opener, despite his best efforts.
“I’ll be 100% healthy (once rehabilitation is complete),” said Billups. “But I won’t be 100% of where I’ve always been as far as my game, my rhythm, basketball. It will probably take me a couple of months to get those kinds of things back. As far as my health and my body, I’ll definitely be 100% back.”
Billups has been cleared to participate in limited team drills.
Griffin, who underwent knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, declared he was completely over the injury and can practice at full contact.
The Clippers will take it a little slower with Chris Paul, who tore a ligament in his right thumb. While he has been cleared for non-contact practice, the team expects Paul to participate in at least one preseason game.
Second-year forward Trey Thompkins suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during summer league in Las Vegas. He noted that he’s close to a return but will skip the team’s trip to China. Billups will also stay in Los Angeles to continue rehab.
Thompkins doesn’t expect to miss any regular season time.
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