Blake Griffin: I’m Truly, Truly Sorry

LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin apologized for his off-court actions which resulted in his fractured hand and four-game suspension, speaking publicly Tuesday for the first time since the incident.

Before taking any questions, Griffin started with a statement, explaining that he’s had “a lot of time to reflect” and that he’s “truly, truly sorry for what happened.” Griffin said it was a situation between two friends that got out of hand, and he exercised poor judgment.

Griffin said he’s spoken to assistant equipment manager Matias Testi “tons of times” since the incident, and he's also talked to his teammates and coaches.

“The last people to apologize to are the fans, and to show them how sorry I am for this situation,” Griffin said, clearly shaken up. “It is something that I feel awful about. It is something that I have not had to deal with ever before in life and it has been tough.”

Griffin added it’s something he thinks about every day and wishes he could take back, and he’s told that to Testi, who was also with the team at practice Tuesday. Now that Griffin has his punishment, he said he’s looking forward to moving on and moving past this incident.

“This is not something that I have ever had to deal with and not a position that I have ever been in, so it has been tough to know that I let my teammates down, let our organization down and let the fans down, let my family down, all of that,” Griffin said. “That has probably been the hardest part.”

His teammates have shown him support since the incident, and Griffin said it hasn’t just been one or two players reaching out. He said current and former teammates have given him advice and shown him positivity, and he’s appreciated the helpfulness of his Clipper teammates.

“Talking to each one, and apologizing to them, the theme has been that everybody makes mistakes,” Griffin said. “We have all done things we regret. Everybody has just said, ‘Get back healthy and come back and join us.’ That is my goal, to get back healthy and come join us and keep doing the things that I was doing before.”

What he was doing before was playing at an MVP-type level, averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and five assists per game, while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and a career-high 40.4 percent on jump shots.

A quad injury sidelined him first, followed by the hand injury. Head coach Doc Rivers said there’s no getting around what happened, but the only thing to do now is figure out how it can never happen again and how everyone can learn from it.

“Not just Blake, but everyone,” Rivers said. “I think our entire group has talked about it and supported Blake and supported Matias; but more importantly, they want our team to be a whole. I think that’s what I think I’ve heard most about it, ‘Let’s get this right.’ This is another opportunity, in my opinion and in their opinion, to grow and to learn from it.”

Rivers believes Griffin and everyone involved have done that.

“Blake’s a good guy,” Rivers said. “Blake doesn’t run around doing things like this. It’s not like he has a history of it, but it happened.

“I think his actions in the future will show the kind of guy he is. He can’t get it back. All he can do is live in the present and live for the future, and we’ll see how it turns out. I feel good about that.”

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Griffin has seen his teammates since the incident. Rivers said Griffin’s been rehabbing, which is the most important part for a team looking to get their star back as soon as possible.

Griffin’s dealing with a fractured hand and is still recovering from his partially torn quad, which was injured prior to the off-court incident. Rivers said Griffin could probably play if the quad was the only issue, but the Clippers would likely still hold him out of a regular season game.

As the quad gets closer to a recovery, there’s less clarity regarding the timetable for Griffin’s recovery from the hand injury, though Rivers said he’s not worried about it ending Griffin’s season.

In the meantime, Griffin will continue to rehab. Rivers said he hasn’t thought far enough ahead yet to know if Griffin and Testi will both be present at Thursday’s game, but he’s assuming so. In addition to those showing Griffin support, he’s also received some kind words from Testi.

“(Matias) actually said it best, ‘Stuff happens,’” Griffin said. “We are like brothers, and we just have to move on.”

The Clippers have managed to put together an 18-5 record since losing Griffin, but all of them realize Griffin’s importance. Chris Paul has said repeatedly the Clippers are “just holding the fort down” until they get healthy, and he said before the break both Griffin and Testi are part of the team’s family.

“We can’t wait to get them back,” Paul said. “Get some things back to a little bit of normalcy.”

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