Blake Griffin Out for the Season - Neither Curse nor Act of God

Would there have been a good time to get this news?

When the injury was first revealed the day before the season started, the day before a nationally televised game against the Lakers after a 6-2 pre-season, the day before what we all believed was going to be the first day of the rebirth of the franchise, that was undeniably bad timing.  That was "Are you kidding me?  How does this happen?" bad timing. 

And it feels a little like that today as well.  The team had been playing it's best ball of the season, only to have the triple whammy of a Kaman back injury, a Camby stomach virus, and a broken water main scuttle their latest attempt to reach .500.  All of that felt like a pretty heavy burden as of last night.  Of course it pales in comparison to knowing that Griffin is out for the season.

I was out running errands when the news broke.  When I got back to the computer, my Tweetdeck was up and the first thing that caught my eye was this tweet from @deandrejordan:

Praying for my brother @blakegriffin!!! Everything happens for a reason and trust me, he will come back 10x better next season. Love boy!!!

I thought, that's strange.  Nice that DJ is praying for BG to complete his rehab soon, but why today?  Then I read the second sentence, and noticed the hundreds of other messages about Griffin being out for the season.

Not to go too philosophical on you citizens, but let's keep it all in perspective.  A fire alarm sounded in a Memphis Arena just before 7 PM pacific time last night, which seemed to negatively impact the Clippers chances of winning a basketball game.  In my recap, I wondered if it had been an "act of God."  In retrospect, it was a terribly unfortunate use of words, when you consider that about 5 hours earlier, an earthquake had killed tens of thousands of people in Haiti - a fact of which I was unaware at the time in my Clippers-centric universe. 

The Clippers weren't going to win an NBA championship this season.  And assuming that the prognosis continues to be that Blake Griffin will make a full recovery, even with a surgery now necessary, today's announcement doesn't impact how good the Clippers can be next season.  So while our gratification at watching him play basketball will be delayed for 40 additional NBA games or so, it remains "just a game" and we'll just look forward to his debut next year.  We're used to it - we can handle it.

I'll have more later... I'm joining a conference call with MDsr now.

[Note by Steve Perrin, 01/13/10 3:05 PM PST ]  Just got off the call, and I have about 30 minutes before I have to leave for class.  I won't get a chance to post again until after the Hornets game, so I'm going to dash off some quick notes now.

On the call, MDsr explained that Blake had experienced some pain jumping in the pool.  That led to the exam, which led to the surgery recommendation. He has not spoken to Blake yet.

  • As far as the coach knows, this does not change the expectations for a full recovery for Blake.  I'll try to follow up with a medical professional on this question.  It would seem that 'knee surgery' is more detrimental in the long term, in general, than 'knee rehab.'  Of course, there are a million surgical procedures that don't convey long term impact.  How invasive is this surgery?  Will they open the knee, or can they scope it?  I don't know the answers to these questions at this point.  I'll try to find out.
  • With Griffin out for the year, I asked the coach if he intended to add a player (they're at the full 15 currently, but as we've discussed before, they could waive Kareem Rush to open a spot with basically no ramifications).  His reply: "Not so much."  As he said directly after Kareem's injury, they're always on the lookout for opportunities to add players if it make sense, but he doesn't feel an urgency as he feels the roster is still pretty solid.
  • He has not been face to face with the team yet, so he couldn''t speak to how they have taken the news.
  • He was asked how it changed how they will approach the season.  As you would expect, he pointed out that they've played without him until now, and that they'll continue to play without him, so it doesn't change much.  He also said that it's an opportunity for others to continue to grow and contribute in more significant roles (read: DeAndre Jordan).  I agree.
  • In non-Griffin news, someone asked about Kaman and the coach termed him "day to day".

I haven't thought too much about the prospects for the rest of this season yet.  I'll think about that some more this afternoon and tonight.  It would seem to diminish the already slim chances of a win in New Orleans tonight.  Already without Kaman for the game, possibly without Camby, the collective psyche of the team can't possibly be too great right now.  But who knows?  Some times teams react in unexpected ways to this sort of news.  Maybe they'll find a new purpose in overcoming this adversity.

Last thing for now: knee injuries are serious business.  It's no one's fault that instead of healing in the originally estimated 6 weeks, the knee now requires surgery.  We think of this as a 6 week stress fracture that led to a missed season, but it's worse than that of course.  Before it was a 6 week stress fracture, it was thought to be a bone bruise that caused him to miss a pre-season game or two.  Is it incompetence or malfeasance, conspiracy or foul play?  Of course not.  It's just bad luck.  Sometimes the bone doesn't heal and you have to have surgery.  If all goes well, he'll be back 100% next season.  That's the reasonable expectation.  Might it happen differently?  Might this be a problem for his career?  Sure, I suppose it might - but that's not what the experts expect.  Of course, you might get hit by a bus tomorrow, but it's no reason to expect it to happen.

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