LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers' injuries during training camp have affected how coach Doc Rivers wants to prepare his team for the regular season.
But it hasn't stopped Rivers and his staff from pushing the Clippers.
Blake Griffin missed the last two exhibition games because of a sore right ankle and he's not expected to play Friday night when the Clippers play their first exhibition game at Staples Center against the Portland Trail Blazers. Griffin also has missed a practice because of a bone bruise on his left knee.
The plan is for Griffin to play Saturday night when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets in Las Vegas.
"If it was the regular season," Griffin said, "I could for sure play."
Starting guard J.J. Redick (bruised left quad), key reserve Matt Barnes (sore left calf) and rookie guard Reggie Bullock (sore right knee) have yet to practice.
Rivers said before Thursday's practice that all three players are getting close to practicing, but they won't play this weekend.
Rivers said the hope is to get Redick, Barnes and Bullock back on the court sometime next week. Second-year guard Maalik Wayns is expected to have surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee Monday or Tuesday.
"Well, it sets us back," Rivers said about the injuries. "But it's just part of basketball. That stuff doesn't ever get me twisted.
"If any coach expects everyone to be healthy through camp and is not prepared when you have injuries, then you're going to have problems. This is how the season is too. In a perfect world, I would love for everybody to be healthy so we can get everything in. But we live in an imperfect world and so we have to make adjustments and that's what we're trying to do."
CRAWFORD STEPS UP HIS GAME
Rivers said he texted Jamal Crawford recently and has seen the guard become more aggressive.
In the first two exhibition games, Crawford was two for eight from the field, 0 for 2 from three-point range, with four points.
In the last two games, Crawford was 13 for 28 from the field, four for nine from three-point range, for 38 points.
"I just said, 'I'd really like for you to be Jamal at some point,' " Rivers said. "He said, 'Well, I'm just trying to fit in.' I said, 'No, they fit in around you. You're an offensive player. Don't worry if you take enough shots that I don't like. I'll tell you. I've yet to say a word to you offensively and I want you to be aggressive.' That's what he is. I don't want to rob him of that. He's too good of a source of scoring to ever rob."
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