Storyline: Blake Griffin Injury

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Rivers told reporters that Griffin’s exact diagnosis would remain unknown until further testing is completed on Tuesday. Griffin exited Staples Center under his own power, walking without crutches or a brace. He dressed in LA’s locker room like usual but did not take questions from reporters. “He was not in high spirits,” Rivers acknowledged. “He was down. Right now, he’s where we are at: hoping that it was just a bang and that it hurt. But he’s down right now.”

Clippers forward Blake Griffin has left Game 3 against the Jazz with a bruised right big toe and will not return. The five-time All-Star left the game with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a transition layup. He had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. Griffin had X-rays at the arena that were negative and the Clippers planned to re-evaluate him later Friday night. He averaged 25 points, six rebounds and 2.5 assists in the first two games of the series.

Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin will undergo minor surgery on his right knee and is expected to return at some point in January, league sources told The Vertical. Griffin will undergo the procedure, considered a “clean up,” early this week, league sources said. Recently, Griffin has also struggled with left calf and knee soreness. Griffin played 38 minutes in the Clippers’ loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday, posting 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

But, according to one opposing team exec, there is another question with Griffin. “I still think there’s a concern with his leg,” he said, referring to a partially torn left quad tendon that cost Griffin serious time last season and never fully healed before causing him to miss the end of the playoffs. He reportedly received a bone marrow injection following the season, which is keeping him off the U.S. Olympic team. “We looked into him, and we’re hearing that’s a pretty serious thing,” the source continued. “I’m not saying you don’t go after him, but you’d better be really sure about that leg before you go making any big commitments.”

That’s not all. Blake Griffin’s partially torn quad tendon is acting up again, and he wasn’t able to play down the stretch. “It doesn’t look great for him, either,” Rivers said. “We’ll see about it tomorrow.” He said Griffin felt it when he planted on the leg. “We’re not sure with Blake yet,” Rivers said. “I think he’ll get evaluted tomorrow when we get back. I would say 50-50 on the next game with him. I expect him to be back, but we don’t know that yet. So I don’t want to say much.”

The question becomes whether or not Griffin has fully re-integrated himself after the Clippers played a majority of the season without their All-Star power forward. “I don’t know the answer,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “I think we’ll see. He’s had not only five games, but he’s had some practice time. Obviously, it’s not the exact way you would have wanted it, but we’ll take what we can get. We got him (Griffin) back, and that’s better than not getting him back. So, I’ll take that.”

Blake Griffin’s eager but realistic as he gets set to return to action Sunday for the first time since missing 45 games with quad and hand injuries. It’s the former injury that started his absence and extended it, as he tried to figure out the right way to go about his rehab once he started missing games in late December. “It just wasn’t being allowed to heal,” Griffin said. “The tear is still there. It’s just about managing the pain and getting through this.”

But Rivers knows he can’t just rush to cash in the chips the Clippers have accumulated. Ideally, the team would get Griffin back as soon as possible, to try and knock off as much rust as possible heading into the playoffs. But, that might not be the reality, and Rivers knows it. “It’s just whenever he’s ready,” he said. “I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s zero (games before), to be honest now, as long as he’s playing to start the playoffs. Is that ideal way of going into a playoff series? No, but I’d rather have him than not. That’s the way I look at it.”

Blake Griffin cleared to practice

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been medically cleared for contact and will participate in his first practice of 2016 on Saturday, coach Doc Rivers said. The five-time All-Star has yet to be activated for games and must still serve a four-game suspension once he does return to the active roster. The earliest Griffin can be activated is for Sunday’s matinee against the Denver Nuggets, although Rivers was reticent to commit to any date. “I don’t know yet. We’ll see. I doubt it, but I will see,” Rivers said Saturday. “I don’t know if one practice is enough to — I think we got to activate him when we think he’s ready to play.

The final hurdle in Griffin’s being cleared to practice was his partially torn quadriceps tendon, which had sidelined him since the Clippers’ game against the Lakers on Christmas Day. The quad healed more slowly than Griffin’s hand, forcing Griffin to briefly scale back his workouts earlier this month. The Clippers were slated to hold only a light practice Saturday, and it was not clear whether they would need to see Griffin participate in a more rigorous scrimmage before activating him. “I don’t know if one practice is enough to activate him,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. We’ve got to activate him when we think he’s ready to play.”
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