Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin is set to return to the hardwood Sunday, three months after his quadriceps injury and bone-headed decision put him on the sidelines.
After first injuring his quadriceps in a Christmas Day battle with the Lakers, Griffin also suffered a broken hand caused by punching team equipment manager, Matias Testi, following an argument in a Toronto restaurant. With his hand healed, Griffin and the Clippers had to wait for his quadriceps to heal before being able to serve his team-imposed four game suspension, and subsequent return to the court. Unfortunately for the Griffin and the Clippers, his quadriceps still shows signs of a serious injury.
Griffin said Saturday that he’d be playing the rest of the season with a tear in his left quadriceps tendon when he returns to the court against the Washington Wizards.
“It just wasn’t being allowed to heal,” Griffin said before practice. “So, the tear’s still there. It’s just about managing the pain and getting through this. … It’s not like a new tear or re-tearing my [quad] in different places. It wasn’t allowing the initial injury to completely heal.”
Even though the Clippers’ record has been better sans Griffin this season, his health will go a long way in determining the team’s success in the playoffs. And according to Griffin, more could have been done to expedite his delayed return to the court.
“I don’t want to say misdiagnosed, but it wasn’t doing the right things, I guess? We weren’t addressing the initial problem — the main problem,” Griffin said. “So, everything I was doing was putting more stress on my [quad]. A small tear became a three-month thing because I wasn’t doing the right thing until we figured it out.”
While Coach Doc Rivers said Griffin would likely start Sunday, the team will take a cautious approach the rest of the season. With surgery possibly necessary for Griffin in the offseason, and an already daunting task ahead of the team in the playoffs, the Clippers’ best bet may be to take the safe route by resting Griffin and be content with having a puncher’s chance at winning it all.