Here's the press release:
Los Angeles Clippers’ rookie forward Blake Griffin may miss up to six weeks with a stress fracture of his left patella suffered during the Clippers’ last preseason game vs. the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, October 23rd.
Further information regarding Griffin’s course of treatment will be made available later. Team officials will be available following shootaround on Tuesday, October 27th at the Los Angeles Clippers Training Center at approximately 10:30 AM.
Well, that explains the mood at the training center this morning. Clearly someone at least suspected that this was more than a bone bruise, but the team didn't want to say anything until they were sure. But you all saw MDsr's body language answering questions after practice; he knew something was up. I kind of want to pull a Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws on him tomorrow: "This was no boating accident!" Of course, I'd say, "This was no bone bruise!" I don't know why I went there. It's late. I'm tired. I'm depressed. Jaws was a good movie.
Six weeks. If we take that at face value, it's 22 games. Oh, and then there's the week of non-contact drills after he's cleared to play. And then of course he'll have to practice after he's cleared for contact before he can get in a game. Oh, but the NBA schedule just doesn't allow a lot of time for practices, so he won't be able to get practices in with the team. Any of this sound familiar? Does six weeks mean six weeks, or does it mean All Star Break?
I'll be up in Playa Vista tomorrow to hear what they have to say, and try to ask the questions we want answered. (And then I'll say "This was no bone bruise!")
Can the team overcome this injury? If everyone else is relatively healthy (and bear in mind that Baron Davis is still a game time decision for tomorrow), it's still a better team than last year. The depth we've been discussing will just get tested early. Certainly the way that DeAndre Jordan and Craig Smith have played in pre-season the team will have some options in the front court. It's not like we're talking about giving major minutes to Nick Fazekas.
Four games in five nights against Western Conference teams that won 45 or more games last season between now and Halloween is pretty brutal - but it's only four games. After that, the November schedule is squishy soft, with seven games against Memphis, Minnesota and Oklahoma City alone. So in that sense, the Clippers got a little lucky at least with the schedule makers. It seems entirely possible that they could ride that early soft schedule to a respectable record during Blake's absence. If he's actually back on the court in six weeks, and the team is around .500 (and 11 wins seems reasonable given the number of home games and weaker opponents on the early schedule), then the boost of getting him back might be able to carry them through the tougher stretches that lie ahead.
As for the Clippers curse, obviously, that's ridiculous and there's no such thing... but seriously, what the hell? So, just in case, if any of you know of any ceremonies that break curses, let's hear them. I don't personally want to be involved in sacrificing a goat, but I'm sure someone out there would step up if that's what it takes.