MCL Sprain Puts Blake Griffin Out Indefinitely
According to TNT NBA reporter David Aldridge, Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee. As of now there is no definitive timetable for his return to the floor. Aldridge noted that Griffin is out “indefinitely.”
How it Happened
Griffin was forced to leave Monday night’s win over the Lakers late in the fourth quarter after teammate Austin Rivers fell and made contact with his left leg. Griffin ran up and down the floor a few times in an attempt to play through it, but he left the game a few possessions later and headed straight to the locker room.
The Clippers did not have an update on Griffin’s condition after the game, but head coach Doc Rivers said, “It didn’t look good.”
Griffin’s Injury Track Record
This certainly isn’t Griffin’s first brush with knee problems. The former All-Star has been limited to just 67, 35 and 61 games over each of the last three seasons, respectively. During L.A.’s first round playoff series against the Utah Jazz this past spring, Griffin injured a toe and was forced to miss the remainder of the series. He missed 18 games last season after undergoing a minor procedure in his right knee.
Griffin missed his entire rookie season after suffering a stress fracture in his left knee during a preseason game. The injury was initially slated to cost Griffin a few weeks, but the knee did not heal as quickly as expected. As a result, Griffin did not make his regular season debut until over a year after he was drafted No. 1 overall out of Oklahoma.
Clippers Crushed by Injuries
Griffin, who signed a 5-year deal worth $173 million to remain with the Clippers this past summer, is just the latest of a slew of key contributors to be beset by injury. The team has already lost influential point guard Patrick Beverley for the season with a knee issue of his own, while they’re also currently without forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Milos Teodosic.
It had been an up-and-down start to the season for the Clippers even with Griffin healthy and on the floor. After starting 4-0, the Clips have since gone just 4-11. That stretch included a lengthy 9-game losing skid. Los Angeles has responded by winning 3 straight games since the 9-game streak, but wins will be increasingly hard to come by with Griffin sidelined.
Without Griffin, the Clippers will now likely be forced to give heavy minutes to the likes of Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell. Dekker entered the game after Griffin left with his injury on Monday and played the final 4 minutes. Neither Dekker nor Harrell has factored much into Rivers’ rotations early in the season. Dekker is averaging under 10 minutes per game, while Harrell plays about 8 minutes a night.
With Chris Paul now in Houston, Griffin has been asked to shoulder more of the offensive load for the Clips this season. The 28-year-old was averaging 23.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists through 19 games before going down with the injury. Veteran swingman Lou Williams, who scored a season-high 42 points on Monday, will presumably become the focal point of the Clippers’ offense.
The Clippers will play their first game without Griffin on Thursday night when the Utah Jazz come to town.
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