The thick, cushioned brace wrapped snugly around Eric Gordon's right wrist, the one he injured Jan. 22, forcing him to miss the Clippers' next 18 games.

Before playing in his first game back Wednesday against Houston, Gordon said that while the brace masks the pain enough for him to shoot, it doesn't mask it completely.

He expects that pain to linger for months.

"My wrist is weak — that's probably why it's so painful at this point — and all I can do is build it up," the 6-foot-3 guard said.

Gordon, who entered the game averaging a team-high 24.1 points, said he probably will extend his pregame warmup routine by up to 30 minutes to keep his wrist warm.

Gordon also said he's not worried about the injury affecting his shot, but that he probably will be driving to the basket more.

"Obviously, everything needs to be different," he said. "I've just been observing and seeing the things we need to do. I know when I get out there playing, I'm going to play up-tempo. That's one thing I don't think we've done as much."

His effort to play up-tempo was evident on the first play of the game, when Gordon drove through the lane for a right-handed layup. He knocked down a deep jumper on the Clippers' next play.