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Montrezl Harrell facing plenty of challenges in his return to the Clippers

Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

Should Los Angeles Clippers center Montrezl Harrell clear his four-day quarantine later this week, as expected, the finalist for the NBA's top reserve will have only days to rebuild rhythm with teammates and regain his conditioning before the postseason begins.

And those are only the physical challenges he faces after three weeks away from the team.

Since leaving the NBA's Disney World campus July 17, Harrell has also expressed emotional and mental anguish on social media while mourning the death of a grandmother with whom he was close.

If all that sounds daunting, a Clippers teammate who knows Harrell as well as anyone on the roster believes the standout center will not only regain his old focus but play with heightened motivation.

"He's back, ready to work," said Lou Williams, a guard who, like Harrell, is a finalist for the NBA's Sixth Man award. "Obviously Trez is a high-energy guy. He's a guy that plays at a high level, extremely physical player, extremely emotional player.

"With some things on his mind, I feel sorry for the other guys on the other team."

 

Harrell is one of four Clippers whose arrival or stay at the league campus has been delayed or interrupted by a death of a loved one, joining JaMychal Green, Patrick Beverley and Williams. Harrell has written that he is dedicating the rest of the Clippers' season to his grandmother.

"I love my best friend my number one lady," Harrell tweeted Aug. 4. "So this next wave of greatness is coming with a lot of pain and passion."

Michael Ojo, a college teammate of rookie guard Terance Mann, recently died as well, while practicing with a club team in Croatia.

"Close teams always come together in these moments," coach Doc Rivers said. "When Trez gets back, you'll see some of that here as well."

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