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Without Patrick Beverley, the Clippers Are in Even More Trouble

Doc Rivers was already coaching a bad defensive team, and now he’s lost his best defender to a knee injury

Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In case Clippers fans forgot what it was like to lose their starting point guard for extended periods of time, Patrick Beverley is here to remind them. Beverley had surgery performed on his right knee on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The estimated timetable for his recovery is nine months, Wojnarowski reported later on Wednesday, likely ruling him out for the remainder of his first season in Los Angeles.

Beverley, who missed five games in mid-November due to soreness in the same knee, returned to the starting lineup for Los Angeles’s most recent game, an embarrassing 107-85 loss against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The 29-year-old combo guard played 22 minutes, finishing with nine points, two assists, and six rebounds.

Before the Knicks contest, Beverley told reporters he was “feeling much better,” and recently had fluid drained from his knee. After the loss—the Clippers’ ninth straight—Beverley spoke like he would be playing going forward, saying, “We just got to play harder … That ain't OK and I won't allow it to be OK as long as I'm here.”

Now he’s gone. Beverley will have company in recovery. His backcourt mate, Milos Teodosic, sustained an injury to his left plantar fascia in just the second game of the season, and is out indefinitely. Danilo Gallinari suffered a strained left glute on November 5 against Miami, but is expected to return in early December. That’s three-fifths of the starting lineup Doc Rivers sent out in the team’s opening-night game against the Lakers.

The Clips, currently rated a bottom-10 defensive team, desperately need Beverley’s tenacity. The Ringer’s Paolo Uggetti detailed their issues recently, noting the heavy load Blake Griffin has been asked to carry in the absence of his fellow starters. The past seasons have been haunted by extended injury layoffs for the Clippers’ two best players, with Griffin and his former point guard Chris Paul causing major anxiety in fans every time they grabbed a hamstring or looked mournfully at their hand. For a franchise plagued by oft and ill-timed affliction, nothing could be more discouraging than seeing the bug catching to the new arrivals.