Doc Rivers, Clippers tell Montrezl Harrell to take time returning after grandmother’s death

Montrezl Harrell — a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year and a player the Clippers clearly missed in their opener against the Lakers — left the NBA’s restart bubble because of the health of his grandmother, with whom he was very close.

Harrell said she died recently on his Instagram story.

“I don’t know when I will stop crying, prolly never… I don’t know how to feel right now. I feel lost empty you are my queen, my best friend, my light in all darkness. I never had you leaving my side. I don’t know how I’m do it but I got to find some way but losing you today isn’t going to make any day I wake up easy.”

Doc Rivers said he told Harrell to take all the time he needs.

“When he’s ready, he’ll come back,” Rivers said Saturday, before the Clippers blowout win against the Pelicans. “You can’t play if you’re not right mentally and because of the emotional part of it…

“His grandmother is very tight with him, so all I told him is I love him and take your time. We’ll be ready with open arms when you come.”

The Clippers bench is missing both Harrell and Lou Williams right now. Williams remains in quarantine because of his restaurant choices (he is scheduled to be out Monday). While the Clippers are not whole right now, as long as they maintain the two or three seed — they currently sit second in the conference three games ahead of the four-seed Jazz — nothing really changes.

Right now, basketball is secondary to the rest of his life for Harrell, and the Clippers told their young star to take all the time he needs. Which is exactly how you treat someone you care about.