GRIFFIN GAME-TIME DECISION HEADING INTO FRIDAY
Blake Griffin is officially listed as a game-time decision heading into Friday’s make-or-break Game 6 in Memphis.
Griffin sustained a high right ankle sprain on Monday and tried to play through it in Game 5 a day later, but was shut down six minutes into the third quarter and did not return to the game.
The team was off Wednesday and he did not participate in practice Thursday. Asked how his ankle was feeling following treatment at the Clippers' training center, Griffin said, “The first day, Tuesday, it felt okay. Before the game it felt okay. Yesterday was kind of a step backwards. Today feels better than yesterday.
“But I’ve still got to stay on it for the next 24 hours and see how it feels tomorrow.”
The Clippers are looking to even their series with the Memphis Grizzlies at three games apiece and send it back to Los Angeles for a decisive Game 7. That will be made more difficult with Griffin unavailable or not at full strength.
If Griffin is unable to play, Lamar Odom would likely start in his place.
“Hopefully, he’s able to go,” Chris Paul said of his fellow All-Star teammate. “Blake’s one of those guys who’s got a lot of fight. He’s going to do everything he can but if he feels like he’ll hurt the team then he won’t. We have guys like LO (Odom), Grant Hill, Matt [Barnes] and all those guys that will step up and fill in for him.”
Griffin was unsure if would be able to suit up in Game 5 after he stepped on Odom’s foot during a 5-on-5 activity in practice the day before and he limped off the floor. But about an hour after warming up, Tuesday, he was in the starting lineup and played 20 minutes, scoring four points with five rebounds and a team-high five assists.
“If I’m able to go and I’m able to help us, then it’s my job to go,” said Griffin. “I owe it to my teammates. If I make things a little worse and there’s no more season left, then it doesn’t really matter anyway because I’ll have a lot of time to rest and a lot of time to heal. As long as I can help my teammates and help us then I’m going to play. That’s really the only way I’m looking at it.”
“We’ll see tomorrow,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Obviously, it’s a concern. We’ve got to manage it. He’s trying to battle through it, but if he’s not right, then obviously other guys have got to go.
“I’ll talk to the trainers and the doctors and Blake tomorrow and we’ll have to see where it’s at.”
Griffin is averaging 14 points, six rebounds and three assists through five games, including earning his third career playoff double-double in Game 4.
CHRIS PAUL’S THUMB
Paul sustained a bruised left thumb in the course of Game 5 and arrived at the postgame dais with his hand wrapped in ice. He played it off at the time and did so again Thursday after practice.
“It’s doing alright,” Paul said.” Better. I’ll be ready tomorrow.”