MEMPHIS By the time the Clippers had put the finishing touches on their Miracle in Memphis, Caron Butler was already showered, dressed in a radiant blue suit and had his broken left hand splinted and wrapped in a bandage.
No such wrapping was required to hold his emotions together.
Butler, as he spoke to reporters outside the training room late Sunday night, kept any disappointment about his injury, which the team said will keep him out four to six weeks, well hidden. He seemed just as thrilled as everyone else in the locker room about seizing the lead in their Western Conference series.
A night's sleep, fitful as it might have been, did nothing to dim Butler's mood Monday when the grim reality of his injury had time to settle in.
For a player who worked relentlessly to return to the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA Finals last June after suffering a knee injury, only to not be activated, Butler now appears to be robbed of a postseason for the second consecutive season.