Patrick Beverley’s hand surgery could disrupt Clippers’ playoff groove

Patrick Beverley’s fractured hand could disrupt the LA Clippers’ rhythm heading into the playoffs.

The LA Clippers have been struggling to get healthy all season. Unfortunately, they were dealt yet another blow on the injury front on Friday.

According to the team, point guard Patrick Beverley suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand during the Clippers’ win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. After undergoing surgery on the fractured hand Friday morning, there is no immediate timetable for his return.

The Clips say he will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks.

Patrick Beverley’s absence threatens the Clippers’ playoff prospects

This doesn’t seem like the end of the world for a team that still has Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy, but the Clippers need their defensive bulldog healthy come playoff time to be an even bigger threat as NBA title contenders. Though Pat Bev is only averaging 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his 31 appearances this season, he’s a terror on the defensive end, provides mental toughness and is also shooting 41.6 percent from 3-point range this year.

With Leonard (nine games missed), George (13 games), Beverley (22 games) and Serge Ibaka (14 games) all having missed significant time this season, it’s honestly impressive Tyronn Lue’s squad is sitting third in the Western Conference standings, only two games behind the Suns for the 2-seed.

However, Beverley won’t be evaluated again until 3-4 weeks from now, which means there’s a good chance his actual return won’t come until somewhere in the 4-6 week range. That would switch his return date from sometime before the start of the playoffs (which would allow him a few regular-season games to get back in a rhythm) and sometime in the middle of the first round.

That’s not ideal for a team that wants to contend, no matter who the Clippers’ first-round matchup winds up being. LA can survive these next few weeks without Beverley, but they’re much better with him, going 21-10 in his 31 games compared to just 14-8 in the 22 games he’s missed.

Here’s hoping the Clippers’ defensive pest, 3-point shooter and leader in edge can return soon enough to make sure he’s shaken off all the rust before the start of the postseason.

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