Russell Westbrook set to return to Clippers lineup as early as Monday


Among the myriad of things that have put the Clippers in a funk — slower pace, less ball movement, transition defense — not having Russell Westbrook's energy off the bench has been part of that. He's missed 12 games following hand surgery, the Clippers are 7-5 in those games.

Westbrook is expected to return to the Clippers rotation next week, maybe as early as Monday, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and then confirmed by Tyronn Lue before the Clippers played the Trail Blazers Friday night.

This is good news for a Clippers team that needs a jolt of energy that is not James Harden contesting a Kawhi Leonard shot.

Westbrook became a vital part of the Clippers' rotation because his energy changed the flow of games. He averaged 11.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game this season. With Westbrook out, Bones Hyland got more run, but he has been inconsistent in his minutes.

The Clippers need to get healthy for the playoffs, this is a key step.