Clippers' Blake Griffin returning despite tear remaining in quad

ByAndrew Han ESPN logo
Sunday, April 3, 2016

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Clippers star Blake Griffin said Saturday that he'll be playing with a tear in his left quadriceps tendon when he resumes his season on Sunday against the Wizards after a three-month absence due to injuries and a four-game suspension.

"It just wasn't being allowed to heal," Griffin said before practice. "So, the tear's still there. It's just about managing the pain and getting through this. ... It's not like a new tear or re-tearing my [quad] in different places. It wasn't allowing the initial injury to completely heal.

The five-time All-Star suffered the injury in the first quarter of a Christmas Day match against the Lakers. There was hope that Griffin had recovered enough to rejoin the active roster during a late January road trip, but once on the trip, it was determined he was unlikely to play. Griffin subsequently broke his hand in Toronto after an altercation with a team assistant equipment manager.

"I don't want to say misdiagnosed, but it wasn't doing the right things, I guess? We weren't addressing the initial problem -- the main problem," Griffin said. "So, everything I was doing was putting more stress on my [quad]. A small tear became a three-month thing because I wasn't doing the right thing until we figured it out."

Coach Doc Rivers said Griffin would likely start on Sunday, but was unsure as to what the 27-year-old's workload would be initially and moving forward with seven games left in the regular season.

"I don't know if it'll be a [minutes limit] or just a limit because you haven't played in three months and so you just have to watch," Rivers said before practice. "I don't care if you're healthy and 100 percent. You just got to be careful. You don't want to throw a guy out there and let him get injured because you're overplaying him. So we just have to be very careful."

Griffin's initial expectations for himself seemed equally malleable for the remainder of the season.

"Honestly, I won't know really until I get out there," Griffin said. "I mean, I've done drills -- simulated drills -- for this week. I practiced for the first time last Saturday. So, I don't have a really good feel for in-game conditioning and endurance. That'll kind of be a thing we figure out as we go along."