All Chauncey Billups had to do was show up and the mood in the locker room improved.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Billups said.
“I would just like to be walking in and putting my jersey on, of course, going out there and fighting with the guys. Obviously, I can’t do that. But on the flip side, it’s just really good to see the guys and see them just as happy to see me.”
The five-time All-Star is done for the season because of a torn left Achilles tendon. He was at Staples Center Saturday morning before the Los Angeles Clippers played the Houston Rockets.
Billups was injured Feb. 6 during a 107-102 overtime victory at Orlando and had surgery eight days later.
The Clippers were 15-7 when they learned Billups’ season was over. They have been playing close to .500 ball since, with losses in five of their last seven.
During the 15-year veteran’s absence, Randy Foye has been starting at shooting guard.
“It’s been tough, and kind of a helpless feeling,” Billups said. “It’s been a struggle, watching the inconsistency night in and night out. We were really in a rhythm when I went down. Roles had been defined, and guys had embraced their roles. Then when I went down, things kind of changed a little bit.”
The Clippers claimed Billups in December after he was waived by the New York Knicks under the league’s new amnesty clause. He averaged 15 points in 20 games, and is still the team’s third-leading scorer.
The Clippers acquired shooting guard Nick Young from Washington on Thursday in a three-team trade with Denver.
He will replace Foye, his former Wizards teammate, in the starting backcourt, alongside Chris Paul.
Rose still hurting
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose missed his third consecutive game Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers because of a strained groin. It’s the 13th game this season Rose has missed.
The Bulls are 8-4 without him, including a 106-102 victory over Miami Wednesday night and a 100-89 loss to the Trail Blazers Friday night.
Rose has also been limited by back and toe problems this season.
Knicks add coaches
New York Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson completed his staff, adding Jim Todd and Darrell Walker as assistant coaches.
Todd, who also was an assistant under Woodson in Atlanta, was an assistant coach with Sacramento this season after coaching in China in 2010-11. Todd also finished the 1999-2000 season as the Los Angeles Clippers’ interim head coach.
Walker, a former Knicks player who played 10 seasons in the NBA with New York, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Chicago, was most recently an assistant coach with Detroit.
Thunder demote Hayward
The Oklahoma City Thunder assigned forward Lazar Hayward to their NBA Development League affiliate in Tulsa for the second time this month.
Hayward was sent back to the 66ers on Saturday, after he had played meaningful minutes against San Antonio a night earlier. He played 8› minutes against the Spurs, missing all three of his shots and committing two fouls.