Reports three weeks ago indicated that the Clippers were considering shutting down sharpshooter J.J. Redick for the regular season to do away with any pressure for him to return from a bulging disk in his lower back.
Those reports out of Los Angeles now seem to be all but gone as Clippers beat reporter Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles is reporting on Thursday that the former Duke star is probable to not only return on Thursday for the team's home game against the Mavericks but will likely start against Dallas after a 25-game absence.
Head coach Doc Rivers quantified the chances of Redick returning Thursday as "75 percent," and Markazi cited multiple team sources that said that the plan is in fact for the 29-year-old to start.
Redick, who hasn't played since Feb. 3, is averaging 9.9 points this season on 43 percent shooting. His absence -- and the absence of Jamal Crawford, who has missed eight of nine games because of a strained left calf -- has given a boost in playing time to Matt Barnes and Darren Collison.
Dan Feldman of NBC Sports breaks down the Clippers' efficiency with either Redick, Crawford or Collison at shooting guard in a lineup that features Paul, Barnes, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan:
With Collison (274 minutes):
- Offensive rating: 115.6
- Defensive rating: 102.1
- Net rating: +13.5
With Crawford (265 minutes):
- Offensive rating: 118.4
- Defensive rating: 97.1
- Net rating: 21.3
With Redick (23 minutes):
- Offensive rating: 114.9
- Defensive rating: 93.8
- Net rating: +21.1
With less than two weeks to go in the regular season, the Clippers currently hold the No. 3 seed in a tight Western Conference race. MAHONEY: Analyzing the playoff rat race in the West between the Mavericks, Suns and Grizzlies