Griffin's injury isn't bad -- is it?

Harry How

When you're a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers, there's no such thing as a minor injury to a star player. Every bump and tweak will cause the citizens of Clips Nation to lose sleep.

I guess it's understandable if the citizens of Clips Nation feel a bit uneasy about the injury Blake Griffin suffered in the team's scrimmage Wednesday night. Even if the official word is that a precautionary MRI showed no structural damage, it still feels like we've been here before. It doesn't help that "bone bruise" seems to be used as a generic catch-all for injuries. How long are players usually out with "bone bruises"? There is no usual. That's the whole point of the "bone bruise" -- it exists to describe an injury for which there is no treatment and for which the player could be out for any amount of time.


So what do we know? Not much. We know he grabbed his knee after banging it against Lou Amundson's knee near the end of the scrimmage. (Hat tip to citizen JavyG70 who was there with his smartphone and posted the video in the FanShots.) Oh, and why is it that when a superstar collides with a scrub, it's always the superstar that gets hurt? Reggie Evans and Ronny Turiaf had a way of banging up Griffin as well, as I recall.

We know that Griffin didn't practice today -- but it's pre-season, and guys will be held out of practice for the most minor of reasons, so that doesn't tell us a lot. The best news we have so far, reading between the lines, is that Doc Rivers said the injury was "nothing bad, but he tweaked it." Still, such tweaks can stretch into serious time missed.

In fact, looking at the video and listening to Doc, it actually seems like Amundson had nothing to do with it. Doc can be heard to say that Blake "said he did it going up." In the video, Blake takes off from his left leg for a right-handed dunk, then lands and grabs at his left knee -- but his left leg does not appear to make contact with Amundson. Is it better or worse, if in fact he injured himself while jumping as opposed to banging knees? Who knows?

My best guess is that Griffin will take it easy for a week or so, but I would expect him to be ready in plenty of time for the season opener. In that sense, the timing here is both good and bad. You'd obviously rather have him suffer a minor problem like this in pre-season than during the season -- but at the same time, if he skips practice and pre-season games for the next couple of weeks, it will be difficult to distinguish between what might be a serious problem versus just an excess of precaution during meaningless exhibition games. One thing that is certain -- with their lack of front court depth, the Clippers can ill-afford to lose Griffin for any significant time during the season.

Meanwhile, the new Clipper most citizens are most excited about, J.J. Redick, has been out this week and will be out for another week and a half. It's the nature of the NBA that players suffer injuries -- but for Clipper fans, the injuries come with plenty of emotional baggage, no matter how minor.

For now, don't panic, think happy thoughts, and stay tuned.

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