DALLAS -- In a season where stars from Oklahoma City, Chicago, Brooklyn and the Lakers have all suffered major injuries, it's now the Clippers' turn to deal with some pain.
Point guard Chris Paul is expected to miss significant time because of a separated right shoulder, an injury he suffered in the third quarter of the Clippers' 119-112 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
Paul will miss 3-5 weeks and maybe more, Coach Doc Rivers said.
Paul left the arena with his right arm in a sling without speaking to reporters.
The injury happened as Paul dribbled around a screen and tumbled to the court after being fouled by Monta Ellis. Paul landed on the back of the shoulder and immediately grabbed at it while writhing in pain.
Paul will be re-evaluated in Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday, when an update on his injury and recovery period is expected.
He scored 19 points in 22 minutes before suffering the injury.
The Clippers trailed by 13 and were down seven with just more than four minutes left before Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford hit big shots down the stretch.
The Clippers ended the game on a 16-2 run, securing the unlikely road win.
"This was a gut check," Crawford said. "We leaned on each other. Obviously, Chris is one of the best players in the world. With his passion for the game, it's hard to see him in pain because he cares about the game so much.
"But that was even more of a reason to rally around one another."
Griffin finished with 25 points, hitting 11 of 13 from the foul line, and DeAndre Jordan scored a career-high 25 to go with 18 rebounds.
Without Paul and J.J. Redick, who could return sometime next week, the Clippers will be without their entire starting backcourt.
Darren Collison will replace Paul in the starting lineup after scoring 20 points off the bench Friday.
DOC STAYS CALM
Doc Rivers isn't afraid to cuss now and then.
But following Friday's 119-112 victory over Dallas, a win that came with the cost of Chris Paul's separated shoulder, Rivers put it in PG perspective.
"Stuff happens," he said.
All season, whether it was injuries to J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock or whomever, Rivers has maintained that his team has to brush things off their shoulders and move on.
And with Paul likely out 3-5 weeks, that philosophy doesn't change.
"You just have to figure it out, get through the adversity part of it and keep winning," he said.
That, though, is much easier said than done.
Darren Collison will get the promotion into the starting lineup in a position he's been in before. During the 2009-10 season when both he and Paul were in New Orleans, Collison started 37 games after Paul suffered a torn meniscus.
"It's going to be tough. He's our engine. He's our leader. He does a lot for us," Collison said. "But at the same time, this team is very talented and we have the depth to overcome this."
After a slow start, Collison is averaging 11.8 points in his past 10 games.
Rivers issued a vote of confidence for his new starting point guard after Friday's game.
"Darren will be fine. I'm not worried about Darren, honestly," Rivers said. "I'm more worried about when Darren gets tired and where do we go from there?"
Jamal Crawford will play point guard some, and Maalik Wayns, whose contract becomes guaranteed Jan. 10, could also get a chance.
Once the Clippers and Rivers get more information on Paul's shoulder, they could make a roster move. Wayns and Stephen Jackson can be released on or before Jan. 10 without the team fitting the bill for a year's worth of salary.
"A lot of things will play a role in it," Rivers said of the decisions. "We have to find out what is the injury, if it's three weeks, two weeks, five weeks. That has to do with what your decision-making is. That's why we have to find that out as soon as possible."
Big game big men
Without Paul, the Clippers leaned on their big men to make big plays, and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both came through.
Jordan scored a career-high 25 points, catching lobs and scoring on post-up plays.
In an effort to exploit some mismatches, Rivers told Jordan the team would look to him on the block more than usual.
"DJ got deep post position, and that's where he's effective," Rivers said. "If you get him deep, he can score."
Jordan downplayed the scoring, saying it's not his first or second priority.
"I want to be the best defensive player out there," Jordan said. "If I can go out there and control the paint for us and only have two points, but I grab 20 rebounds and a couple blocks for the team, then other guys are going to be able to score."
Griffin, continued to impress from the foul line, where he drilled 11 of 13, including three clutch ones late.
"Everybody had to do their part tonight," Griffin said. "That might've been my part, getting to the line and hitting free throws so they can't foul you down the stretch."
In Griffin's past eight games, he's shooting 79.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Collison admitted that he played with a little more juice against his former team. "There's always that one game that gets you ready, that you work hard for in the offseason," he said. "This is one of them." ... The Clippers allowed Dallas to score a season-high 70 points in the first half, but an adjustment on their pick-and-roll coverages helped slow down the Mavericks, limiting them to only 42 points in the second half.
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