Blake Griffin Probable To Return Tuesday From Knee Surgery
PHILADELPHIA – It appears the third time’s a charm when it comes to Blake Griffin’s return on this road trip.
Griffin said he would’ve played Saturday against Denver if he was allowed to, but after sitting against the Nuggets and sitting Monday against the Hawks, Griffin’s listed as probable to play Tuesday night against the 76ers.
“That’s going to be great,” Austin Rivers said after a win in Atlanta. “It’s going to be great to have him out there.”
Rivers joked that more assists are sure to come his way, as well. After 18 straight games missed following arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee, the month-long wait for Griffin’s return seems to have reached an end.
“Did a lot of tests, a lot of conditioning, a lot of basketball moves, a lot of contact,” Griffin said. “Now, try to get everybody involved and fit into how we’re playing.”
Even on the bench, he’s fit right in and stayed involved as he’s waited to be cleared. He’s slowly ramped up his work running without a brace and getting back on the floor participating in basketball activities, and the contact drills he’s successfully gone through the last few days marked the last step in his recovery.
Saturday in Denver, he was sprinting back and forth the length of the court full speed before the game without an issue. And once the game started, he was fully engaged.
“He’s been great, more than what people probably think,” Rivers said. “His attention to detail’s amazing, especially for someone who’s been out a long time.”
Rivers said the longer a player is out, the more he typically becomes disengaged and discouraged. It’s been the opposite for Griffin.
“Blake’s into every play, every huddle,” Rivers said. “It’s crazy. It’s no coincidence he is who he is.”
Monday against the Hawks, head coach Doc Rivers said after Austin missed two shots in a row and the Clippers came out of a timeout, Griffin grabbed Austin and said, “It’s got to be you. You’ve got to be the guy,” encouraging Austin to take over.
A win, snapping a two-game losing streak, followed.
“He’s been absolutely wonderful,” Doc said. “What it tells you is he’s really invested in this team. (Monday) night, he was off the charts.”
But as good as he’s been as a teammate, the Clippers like him more as a player. Tuesday night, he’s expected to return in that role.
“Most likely, yeah,” Doc said before Monday’s game.
The Clippers are 11-9 in 20 games without Griffin this year, but just 3-7 without both Griffin and Chris Paul, who’s going to be out for an extended period of time following surgery to his left thumb. That makes the return of Griffin even more vital.
For weeks before the surgery, Griffin said his mobility was limited. He couldn’t twist, turn, jump or push the way he wanted to. Now, following the surgery, he said he feels considerably better in all of those areas.
“I needed to take care of it, needed to get it done,” Griffin said.