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Clippers' Griffin has successful kneecap surgery

Posted Jan 20 2010 11:18PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The doctor who performed surgery on Blake Griffin's broken left kneecap says the Los Angeles Clippers' No. 1 overall draft pick should be able to do basketball drills in three to four months.

Griffin underwent a two-part procedure Wednesday at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Neal ElAttrache repaired Griffin's patellar tendon and performed a "left patellar fragment excision," according to the Clippers.

"This is a rare problem. It was the first time that we've had to do anything like this," ElAttrache said at Staples Center before the Clippers' game against the Chicago Bulls. "Blake had a stress fracture at the bottom of the kneecap. In October, he pulled that off. For it to pull off like that is a bit of a rare problem. But the fragment did not involve any of the joint's surface. And that's a big determining factor.

"The quality of his patellar tendon also looked quite good," ElAttrache added. "So the two things that we would have been concerned about having some trouble getting him back or having long-term problems, neither of those things was there. So, if you had to design how this day would go, this is how I would have dreamed it up."

An incision was made where the tendon attaches to the bottom of the kneecap, which is where the fracture was. The piece of bone that was causing the problem was attached to the deep fibers underneath the surface of the tendon. So ElAttrache was able to shell out the offending piece of the bottom of the kneecap and then reinforce the patellar tendon repair.

"We were very happy that the piece itself didn't damage a significant portion of the tendon. So that bodes well for his rehab and his prognosis," ElAttrache said.

Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy is eager to get Griffin back healthy again for the start of training camp. But he always had held out hope during the past few months that he would have him back sooner.

"It looked at one point that everything was going in the right direction for us," Dunleavy said. "But the end result was going to be that he had to take off and land. So that was obviously going to be the big test. Then he started having some pain in his knee while he was in the pool, that was obviously not a good sign."

Griffin is expected to be back in action in four to six months, allowing him to return for summer workouts. He will be on crutches for another three weeks.

"The bench marks would be that we want him to get his range of motion back first," ElAttrache said. "We need to rest the knee for the next several days to a week, then start working on working on his range of motion, and then put him on an early strengthening program.

"I would hope that in three or four months that he should be strengthened enough that we should be able to get him into some basketball drills."

Griffin broke his kneecap during the Clippers' final exhibition game Oct. 23.

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