The Los Angeles Clippers finished with the NBA’s third best record, 57-25, last season and reached the second round of the playoffs before being taken down by the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. Maybe the biggest reason for their success was the play of power forward Blake Griffin, who had the best season of his career. He is expected to be even better next season but a back injury has caused concern. Griffin, however, says the injury isn’t serious.
“It’s less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact,” Griffin said via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “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 raised some eyebrows when he pulled out of Team USA, announcing he would not be participating in the FIBA World Cup later this summer. Griffin, however, says he did it for the good of 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.”
With the Clippers looking like a legitimate title contender and Griffin continuing to evolve into an elite player, it’s hard to blame him.
Griffin was fantastic for the Clippers last season, looking like a legitimate MVP candidate, carrying the team while star point guard Chris Paul was out with an injury. On the season, he averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 52.8% from the field, 27.3% from beyond the arc and 71.5% from the charity stripe.