After battling with a hamstring injury for the duration of the Los Angeles Clippers first round playoff series with the Utah Jazz, guard Austin Rivers will return for game five, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Sources: Clippers expect guard Austin Rivers to return from hamstring injury for Game 5 vs. the Jazz on Tuesday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 24, 2017
However, Rivers’ coach and father, Doc Rivers, has revealed that the guard will play on Tuesday night on a minutes restriction, so to not run the risk of aggravating the injury.
Rivers, who last played a game for the Clippers on March 29th against the Washington Wizards, has enjoyed his best season in the NBA yet, averaging 12 points per game while shooting 37.1-percent from three.
The 24-year-old played a pivotal role in Los Angeles’ success over Utah in the regular season, with the Clippers going 3-1. Rivers averaged 15 points per game over these four games, his best numbers against any opponent this season.
The following is from Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:
“Obviously he gives us offense with his penetration,” Coach Doc Rivers said, “and that was big in the four games against Utah. And then his defense.
The former New Orleans Pelicans guard oozes resilience and tenacity and has been one of the Clippers most reliable perimeter defenders this year.
In last season’s postseason run, where the Clippers were dumped out in the first round in six games against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rivers emerged as one of the better players. His effort and aggression shone through despite Los Angeles’ poor showing, exemplified when a hard elbow left him bloodied and bruised, only for the guard to eventually tally 21 points and eight assists.
Austin Rivers has returned to Game 6 against the Blazers after taking a brutal elbow shot to the head. pic.twitter.com/nJ145LpgE8
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 30, 2016
With the series tied 2-2, Rivers could provide the energetic spark his team so desperately crave. His perimeter defense and peerless persistent may be the key to any possible Clippers success in this series.
With Blake Griffin ruled out for the remainder of the postseason, Rivers may receive minutes at the small forward sport in a smaller rotation, a position he has filled on occasion over the course of the regular season.