Jared Dudley says he played last season with fractured knee because Doc Rivers asked him to

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Jared Dudley’s numbers with the Clippers last season look like an aberration.

Three seasons ago he shot 39.1 percent from three (for Phoenix), that fell to 36 percent last season for the Clippers, then this season it is up to 44.2 percent for the Bucks. His numbers bounced like that across the board. Maybe the best example is his Player Efficiency Rating (PER): It went from right at the league average of 14.9 in Phoenix, to a “send him to the D-League” 8.9 with the Clippers, and now is back up to 14.4 with the Bucks.

Dudley says there is a reason for that: He was playing with a fractured knee. Because Doc Rivers asked him to.

That’s what Dudley told Zach Lowe on the Grantland podcast (hat tip Arash Markazi of ESPN).

“Here’s the thing with the Clippers,” Dudley said. “When I hurt my back in Vegas, I show up there in September trying to get with the training staff, and sometimes when you have an injury it leads to another injury, so basically I was nursing what I thought was tendinitis at the time in my knee, basically I really couldn’t bend my knee 90 degrees so I had to deal with that for the first month or so. I basically went to Doc Rivers and said, ‘Hey, I’ve never had to deal with this, I can’t bend my knee, all my shots are short, I can’t move laterally, I need to sit out.’ At that time Matt Barnes was out with a calf injury and J.J. Redick was out with a herniated disk and he said, ‘Hey, I need you to give me 10-15 games and when those guys come back, I’ll give you a rest.’

“Well, during that time I just couldn’t guard anyone. I couldn’t make a shot, all my shots were short and then confidence happened. By midseason, I get my X-ray and I had a little fracture in my knee so I knew what I was feeling was more than tendinitis. By midseason, [Rivers] brings in [Danny] Granger and I was sent to the pine. The trade [to Milwaukee] was the best thing for my career, where I got with a training staff that got me healthy and when I’m healthy, I’m the player you see now and the player you saw in Phoenix.”

Dudley said his understanding with Rivers was he would play through the injury as best he could and the Clippers would bring him back this season once he had the summer to get healthy. Instead, they traded him to Milwaukee.

“I talked to Doc maybe a week and a half before I got traded,” Dudley told Zach Lowe on his Lowe Post podcast on Grantland. “That was in August. He was basically like, ‘Hey, you’re young. I don’t know what happened this season.’ I basically told him, ‘You know what happened. I wasn’t right and I thought I would be able to come back.’ “

It’s worked out well for Dudley, but the Clippers might have wanted to get him healthy as they could certainly use his depth on the wing and his three-point shooting right now.