Chauncey Billups is done for the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon, coach Vinny Del Negro told the Los Angeles Times. The Clippers point guard went down in the fourth quarter of Monday's overtime victory in Orlando and had to be helped off the court. An MRI exam Tuesday confirmed the severity of the injury. He's expected to be sidelined for at least eight months.
Although the official diagnosis wasn't discovered until this afternoon, several players in the Clippers' locker room immediately suspected the worst, as HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler reported hearing players hint that Billups had suffered a tear and was "done."
"All I can say is that it was very quiet in the locker room and very quiet on the bus and very quiet on the plane because everyone knows how important Chauncey is and how much they respect him and what he brings to the team," Del Negro told reporters after practice Tuesday before learning the diagnosis. "You feel bad for him more than anything. So, we'll see what the results are and go from there."
Now that the results are known, this injury could effectively end Billups' tenure with the Clippers. He'll be a free agent at the end of the season, and he'll be 36 years old by the time 2012-13 season starts.
In 20 games sharing the backcourt with Chris Paul, Billups averaged 15.0 points and 4.0 assists per game, helping the Clippers climb to first-place in the Pacific Division with a 15-7 record. Randy Foye and Mo Williams are expected to see their roles roles increase in Billups' absence.
For more on Billups and the Clippers, visit Clips Nation.