Griffin could return in Clippers’ latest matchup with Lakers

Game Preview: Griffin could return in Clippers’ latest matchup with Lakers

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Blake Griffin was forced to exit stage left the last time the Clippers faced the Lakers.

Now, he could return to the big stage against his team’s hometown rivals.

The Clippers (14-19) will “travel” to face the Lakers (11-22) on Friday in the two teams’ third matchup of the season. And the same way Griffin garnered most of the attention after spraining his MCL in his left knee at the end of their Nov. 27 tilt, Griffin is once again the center of attention heading into Friday’s game.

Griffin has missed the Clippers last 14 contests after suffering the knee injury, but it is possible he could return on Friday, weeks earlier than anticipated.

Originally, he was slated to miss up to eight weeks. If he were to play against the Lakers, he will have been out just over four weeks.

Griffin – listed as questionable for Friday’s game – practiced with the G League affiliate Agua Caliente Clippers on Wednesday and on Thursday, he worked out with the Clippers. Both Griffin and Clippers coach Doc Rivers said a decision will be made on Friday as to whether Griffin will play or not.

“He looked good yesterday and you could see he’s just rusty,” Rivers said Thursday. “Conditioning-wise, he’s behind, but everything else looked pretty good. We’ll go through today and decide [on Friday]. We don’t know.”

Griffin also said on Thursday that he has suffered minimal pain in the knee since the injury.

In addition to Griffin’s potential return, the Clippers could also see the return of forward Wesley Johnson to the court. Johnson has missed the team’s last five games with a foot injury.

As the Clippers look to return to health, on the other side of the court, the Lakers are dealing with their own injury struggles. Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a sprained shoulder and center Brook Lopez is out with a sprained ankle.

The Clippers defeated the Lakers in the season opener, 108-92, and then again in overtime on Nov. 27, 120-115. Since January of 2012, the Clippers are 21-4 against the Lakers and have won 20 of the last 22 against the purple and gold.

Friday’s game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.

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