Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin left Saturday night’s 118-107 win against the Houston Rockets with back spasms and did not return.
Griffin departed with 5:48 left in the first quarter. He was grabbing his lower back as he walked off the court and continued to hold it as he bit his jersey in the Clippers’ huddle during a timeout. He then limped off the court with Clippers trainer Jasen Powell to the locker room.
“Back spasms, day-to-day,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “I’m sure they’re going to do whatever they do with X-rays and all that stuff, so we’ll see.”
Griffin has been dealing with hip issues recently, and Rivers believes that led to the back injury.
“It was his hip yesterday, it had nothing do with his back, but I think that’s what triggered it,” Rivers said. “Whatever was going on before, that’s what triggered the back injury. It scared the hell out of me because I’ve had that reaction myself. That’s a back injury. They don’t think it’s awful, but it’s a back injury.”
Rivers said he likely will be more cautious with Griffin with just eight games left in the regular season but would wait to talk to Powell first.
“I’m not sure how bad it is, I just don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “Clearly, if it’s something where [Powell] says, ‘Hey, it’s your call,’ then that means no. I mean if it’s my call, then no. I want it to be the trainer’s call where he knows he can play. If it gets to that, I would rest Blake, Chris [Paul] or Jamal [Crawford].” ESPN
First off, props to head coach Rivers for directly answering questions instead of letting conjecture run wild amongst the rabid-journalists (myself included) who need talking points. Rivers explained that the back issues have likely been caused by the hip injuries which is something we would have all wondered. The second key point was that Rivers will rest Griffin until he is truly ready to go or until the playoffs come, whichever is first.
Griffin has earned some time to rest. He has exhibited the game of a superstar this season, and even improved his free throw percentage which a lot of elite players neglect. This should afford Griffin enough rest to be fresh for the playoffs, something no first round opponent wanted to see. – AL
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