Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin will be out for the next two weeks as a result of partially torn quadriceps tendon in his left leg, the team announced on Saturday. The star forward did not join his teammates on their trip to Utah for the Clippers' match against the Jazz on Saturday night. He also will miss the rest of Los Angeles' current five-game road trip.
Griffin, 26, sustained the quad injury during his team's Friday night 94-84 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. The injury reportedly occurred while the player is on a drive to the basket in the first quarter of the game.
It was revealed the next day that he partially tore his left quadriceps tendon when he underwent an MRI exam. He will begin a treatment and recovery plan and will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks.
The power forward is averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and five assists in 30 games for Los Angeles this current season. He was third among Western Conference forwards in the first returns of All-Star balloting last Friday.
Griffin is known to act tough, so the fact that he was hurt has not been immediately clear. However, Jamal Crawford was among his teammates who could tell that something was up. "He plays through stuff. He mentioned something, and you could see the look on his face. I've known him now four years, so you can tell when something's a little off. He was a little off. He kind of said that toward the end of the game, but you could kind of tell," Crawford said.
Coach Doc Rivers turned to reserve forwards Josh Smith and Paul Pierce to replace Griffin in the Clippers' starting lineup. With the All-Star forward gone, it turned out that it is not that difficult to win for the team as expected. On Saturday night, Los Angeles figured out a formula for compensating for the injured Griffin. Fueled by impressive 3-point shooting during the second half, the Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz for a 109-104 victory.
Smith started against Utah, but after five minutes he found himself back on the bench. The small forward had already been benched for the past two games for unspecified reasons. As such, Paul Pierce was one of the Clippers to receive an extended opportunity as a result of Griffin's and Smith's absence.
The 38-year-old veteran exploded for 20 points (with five 3-point shots), including a last-minute shot to seal his team's fate. He delivered five rebounds and two assists over 27 minutes.
"There's a lot of things I can still do," Pierce told the Los Angeles Times after the game. "I'm not the go-to scorer I was years back where they would give it to me in isolation. I do a good job really playing off our stars pretty much, and that's what I was able to do today."