The Los Angeles Clippers looked to be at times the best team in basketball this season. But despite that, and despite the growth, the Clippers find themselves in the exact same spot they were last season: locked in a bitter and brutal playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Los Angeles lost their Game 5 showdown with the Grizzlies on Tuesday to drop into a 3-2 hole, but things might be a lot worse than that series score.
Blake Griffin had been limping all game long and ultimately left the contest late in the third quarter and didn’t return for the remainder of the game. Afterwords, Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said that Los Angeles’ start forward had sprained his ankle in practice and the issue flared up late in the game causing Griffin to have to leave. While Griffin didn’t return for the rest of Game 5, he may end up missing Game 6 as well and therefore not be able to help the Clippers avoid elimination.
Blake Griffin can barely walk, leaving Staples Center – no boot or crutches – but suffered a significant sprain yesterday (high ankle)
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) May 1, 2013
There are two things to take away from this. The first is obvious, and it’s that if Griffin’s ankle sprain doesn’t heal, he won’t be able to play and if he does he won’t be able to play at a level which would be productive to the Clippers winning. The other thing to take away from this is that Vinny Del Negro didn’t mention this ankle sprain prior to the game, which is something the NBA might end up looking into as the injury went unreported and ended up getting much worse during the game.
Griffin’s injury is yet another setback to add to decades worth of disappointments. The Clippers truly are the Tony Romo of basketball and it’s looking like another early exit is in their future and some major questions will need to be answered this offseason because something clearly isn’t working right and it’s not just Griffin’s ankle.