There’s been some mystery surrounding Blake Griffin this summer. First, he withdrew from the 2014 FIBA World Cup, citing the need to rest and prepare for the upcoming season. Then, it was revealed Griffin had suffered a small back fracture, which was reported after photos came out of him doing backflips into the Adriatic Sea. This week, Griffin clarified his injury status.
Via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times, Griffin acknowledged some back concerns but emphasized that there was no fracture:
“It’s less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact,” Griffin said. “I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn’t be playing and practicing everyday this early.”
Griffin had to weigh playing for USA Basketball until the tournament is over on Sept. 14 against not strengthening or resting his back for another long run with the Clippers.
“My whole thing is that I didn’t want to go into [Clippers training] camp and put myself in a worse position,” he said. “It’s not that my back is broken and I’m walking around with a broken back, or I’m in so much pain.
“But if I start playing basically two months earlier than everybody else and then go through all of next season and the playoffs, then I’m probably going to put myself in a bad position. I couldn’t do that.”
That’s great news for Clippers fans that Griffin prioritized being ready for next season over possibly risking injury at the World Cup. The 25 year old averaged 24.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season and finished third in MVP voting. He kept up his impressive play in the postseason, putting up 23.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the field.
The Clippers won 57 games in their first season with head coach Doc Rivers, but lost in the second round to the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Griffin and Chris Paul as the cornerstones of the franchise (™James Harden), the team expects to compete for the championship. The Clippers will be returning essentially the same roster from last season minus the distraction of Donald Sterling.
The regular-season goal for this team will be securing one of the top seeds in the West, which means they can’t afford to get off to a slow start in a conference filled with potential contenders.
A healthy and rested Griffin in shape and ready to go for the start of next season will be huge for a team hoping to break through and finally make it to the Finals — or at least the Conference Finals — for the fist time in franchise history. A back injury isn’t something you want to fool with, and Clippers fans should be happy about the precautionary measures he’s taken.
What do you think?
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