If the Detroit Pistons are to salvage any hope following their Game 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, they may have to do it without any help from Blake Griffin. Vince Goodwill of Yahoo Sports writes that the six-time All-Star's ailing left knee could keep him out of the first round altogether.
After initially missing three games with the sprained knee, Griffin returned April 5 against Oklahoma City to score 45 points, but the knee swelled again and limited his effectiveness two nights later against Charlotte. The Pistons are concerned that could happen in the playoff series against the Bucks, even with the possibility of Griffin having 10 days off heading into Game 3 on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena.
Griffin worked out at practice on Monday and per Pistons coach Dwane Casey, Griffin wants to play in Wednesday's Game 2 (8 ET, NBA TV). He has been lobbying to play, but that decision will be up to the team's medical staff, Casey said.
Dwane Casey said Blake worked out today in practice. Said he’s been lobbying to play. Also said he anticipated the Pistons running more zone.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) April 15, 2019
Dwane Casey says Blake Griffin is lobbying to play but decision is in hands of medical team— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) April 15, 2019
Griffin has been listed as questionable on the team's injury point for the past few weeks. After missing three games, he returned for three games, but has been listed with "left knee soreness" on the injury report. Per Rod Beard of The Detroit News, Griffin said after Game 1 that he's not choosing himself to sit out of the games he's missed.
''I never like to feel like I'm leaving my guys out there,'' Griffin said. ''But I have to do what our organization, our training staff, our doctors think is best, and that is the bottom line.''
Griffin said his frustration level is "10 out of 10" and pain isn't the only problem keeping out of the Pistons' lineup.
“I don’t have a great answer to that. It’s a complicated answer. If it was pain, I would easily play with pain. It’s a complication situation,” Griffin said, per The Detroit News. “If it was just my decision, I would have played.”
When teammate Andre Drummond was ejected in Game 1, Griffin was issued a technical foul for protesting his ejection. Casey said he understood what the referees were doing to keep control of the game but thought a flagrant 1 foul -- instead of the flagrant 2 Drummond received -- would have been more appropriate.
''I think it was a flagrant but I don't think Andre deserved to be out the rest of the game,'' Griffin said. ''At least that is my opinion in real time.''
Casey said he thought Griffin did not deserve a technical. Griffin said it was frustrating having to watch Game 1 from the sideline.
The news regarding Griffin is disastrous for Detroit, which trailed by as many 43 before ultimately falling to Milwaukee 121-86 on Sunday. Griffin, who had played his most regular season games (75) since 2013-14, enjoyed a career campaign while snapping a four-year absence from the All-Star Game.
The former No. 1 overall pick averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists while leading the Pistons to a late-season playoff push and just their second postseason berth since 2009.
Griffin was visibly frustrated following Sunday's loss, telling reporters that, "If it was just my decision, I would have played."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.