The Los Angeles Clippers just can’t escape the injury bug.
The Clippers announced today that All-Star forward Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the NBA Playoffs after suffering an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe during Game 3 of the Clippers’ first round series against the Utah Jazz.
Griffin suffered the injury in the second quarter then walked immediately to the locker room. He wasn’t available afterward for comment, but Saturday morning the team broke the bad news.
While the Clippers went on to win the game, 111-106, and take a 2-1 lead in the series, the long-term loss of Griffin deals a serious blow to their championship hopes. Griffin averaged 21.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in 61 regular season appearances for the Clippers. He missed 21 games during the regular season, and the Clippers were 11-10 in that stretch. Due mostly to various injuries, Griffin hasn’t played more than 67 games in a season since the 2013-14 campaign.
Last year, Griffin had an injured quad and missed he entire first-round series with the Blazers. Paul broke his hand three games into that series and sat the remainder, which the Clippers lost. Two years ago, a bad hamstring sidelined Paul for two games of the Clippers’ first-round lost to Houston. And now this.
Asked after Friday’s game how the Clippers might fare without Griffin, point guard Chris Paul said: “Well, obviously we won’t be able to play through the post as much … it’s a different feeling without him on the court.”
Without Griffin in Game 3, the Clippers relied heavily on 39-year-old forward Paul Pierce, who played over 20 minutes for just the second time all season. Pierce and reserve forward Marreese Speights will probably see increased minutes in Griffin’s absence.
The Clippers and Jazz will play Game 4 on Sunday, April 23 (9:00 pm ET, TNT).