Down But Not and Out
As if the Clippers haven’t had enough challenges this season, the team was thrown another obstacle when Shaun Livingston went down with a dislocated knee cap during the first quarter of the Clips’ 100-93 win over Charlotte.
Livingston was going up for a layup and landed awkwardly on his left leg, causing a hush to fall over the Staples Center crowd as he was helped off the floor on a stretcher. If you happened to see the replay, you’ll understand how serious the injury is. Livingston will miss the rest of the regular season, though hopefully the injury will not have more long-term ramifications on his career.
Update: Livingston tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL and will require surgery, facing a lengthy rehabilitation of a minimum of a year. Sadly, his career may be in jeopardy.
Since Livingston’s arrival in LA three years ago straight out of Peoria Central High, Clipper Nation has salivated over his combination of size (6’7”), speed, and court vision, dreaming of a point guard that could completely control a game at both ends of the court for many years.
However, like many other Clipper draft picks before him, Livingston’s career has been more notable for its inconsistency and injury than fulfilled potential. He missed 39 games due to a dislocated right knee injury and 13 games with a shoulder injury during his rookie year, then 21 games last year with a stress reaction in his back. All the more frustrating, Clipper brass has refused to include him in any trade discussions for marquee players because of his promise, despite the fact that he’s spent as much time in a suit on the bench as in uniform.
Livingston’s injury comes on the heels of one of his finest performances of the year, a 14 point, 14 assist game against fellow playoff contender Golden St., in which he repeatedly attacked the Warriors’ porous defense in transition to help secure an easy victory for the team. With the aging Sam Cassell continually hampered by various ailments (currently nursing an abdominal injury), the Clippers were resting their playoff hopes on Livingston’s ability to play big minutes and run the offense. Now, in these final 26 games, Cassell will have to play through as much pain as he can, while seldom-used second-year player Daniel Ewing is going to get the call to play significant minutes off the bench.