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Reports: LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin may return before end of December

From NBA Twitter and media reports

The LA Clippers might welcome back its top scorer before 2018 begins.

According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Griffin “worked out extremely hard” following the team shootaround on Tuesday and could return to the court this month after missing the last 13 games with a sprained MCL.

Today, the team assigned Griffin to their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. Griffin will practice with the team as he continues to recover from his MCL injury.

After Tuesday’s practice, Clippers coach Doc Rivers sounded optimistic that Griffin could return Friday night against the Los Angeles (10:30 ET, NBA League Pass) Lakers or Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets (7 ET, NBA League Pass).

Here’s more from Turner on Griffin’s progress with his injury:

Rivers said Griffin “actually could” play in Friday night’s game against the Lakers at Staples Center.

Griffin has now been out 14 games rehabilitating a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Obviously, Rivers agreed, Griffin appears to have progressed quicker than expected.

“I just know his work ethic has to have something to do with it,” Rivers said. “Blake, he gets a lot of heat for getting injured. But no one gives him credit for getting healthy. And he works his butt off, I’m telling you, like no one I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here.

“Blake does not want to miss games. Blake wants to play. And if you could see him work in the gym, everyone would understand that.”

Griffin also went through some drills yesterday with assistant coach Sam Cassell and team basketball operations assistant Larry Abney. According to the Times, Griffin wore a black brace on his knee and the intensity of each drill ramped up to a higher degree.

ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz quoted coach Doc Rivers saying Griffin could return Friday.

Griffin is averaging 23.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest. The Clippers have gone 5-8 in his absence.