Chauncey Billups: Is This the End for the Los Angeles Clippers Veteran?
One of the NBA's best players in the last 15 years may see his career come to an abrupt end.
The Los Angeles Clippers' Chauncey Billups, aka "Mr. Big Shot," ruptured his left Achilles tendon recently and will miss the rest of the 2011-12 season. Billups, a 15-year veteran, was averaging 15.0 points and four assists a game.
Billups' injury did not come at a good time. The Clippers (17-8) are in first place in the Pacific Division and have a two-and-a-half game lead over their crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers have not made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season.
A one-time NBA vagabond, Billups, drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1997, was traded three times in his first five seasons (Toronto, Denver and Minnesota) before signing as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons in 2002. Two seasons later, Billups was the MVP of the NBA Finals, leading the Pistons past the Lakers 4-1.
The 35-year-old Billups became one of the league's best point guards in his six-year career with the Pistons. He was traded back to Denver in 2008 and played two seasons before being dealt to the New York Knicks, along with Carmelo Anthony. Billups averaged 17.5 points in 21 games. The Knicks waived the former five-time All-Star and he signed with the Clippers just before the 2012 season started.
Billups was moved to shooting guard alongside superstar point guard Chris Paul. The All-Star duo had been instrumental in the Clippers' resurgence as a playoff contender in the Western Conference. Now, the Clippers will have to deal with playing the rest of the season without Billups.
Will Chauncey Billups ever play again?
A torn Achilles tendon is nothing uncommon for NBA players, but in the case of Billups, the injury may be career-ending. Former Detroit Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas' illustrious 13-year career ended after he tore his Achilles tendon in late April of 1994.
Players are known for coming back from the serious injury, but this setback may be the final straw for a player that has been known as one of the greatest clutch performers in the history of the NBA. In a league full of prima donnas, Billups has been one of the game's best ambassadors. In 2009 he won the NBA's Sportsmanship Award, displaying his cool and excellent leadership skills.
There is no timetable on if Billups will return to the court next season. However, if this is the final go-round for Chauncey Billups, he deserves a standing ovation for being one of the game's most underrated, but gifted players.
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