The Los Angeles Clippers are wading through a highly competitive Western Conference. Ranking fourth place in the Stephen Curry-led division, the DeAndre Jordan squad has yet to find ways to reach the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs at the top. However, it looks like the Los Angeles Clippers have just made the goal even more difficult to achieve with the recent turn of events.
Star player Blake Griffin, who has been out due to a quadriceps injury since the team's Christmas Day victory over Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, will be needing more time to recover. While the earlier injury reports regarding Griffin showed positive signs of healing, another incident halted the smooth recovery process of the NBA star. On the night before the Los Angeles Clippers faced the Toronto Raptors in a road game, Griffin broke his hand.
The injury stemmed from an argument with a staff member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin's opponent in the altercation, later on identified as Matias Testi, is a long-time friend of the star and DeAndre Jordan. The three have been reported vacationing together and are known for their close friendship. However, the usual friendly banter over dinner took a wrong turn which resulted in a swollen face and a broken hand.
Reports disclosed that Griffin punched Testi at a restaurant following a verbal spat between the two. The argument was then taken outside where the Los Angeles Clippers star hit the staff once again. These events caused Griffin to incur a "spiral fracture of the fourth metacarpal" while Testi had a visibly injured face. Both men were sent home following the incident.
"This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team," announced the Los Angeles Clippers in an official statement. The NBA team added, "We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken."
Jordan, who was allegedly part of the group when the altercation happened, continues his silence on the matter. He noted via the Los Angeles Times, "Those guys are really close friends of mine, like brothers to me. It's a tough situation. Two guys that I'm super close with and it's sticky, man. It's tough."
As for the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers expressed his disappointment over the matter.
"I'm not satisfied with anything," said the Los Angeles Clipper head coach via ESPN. Rivers added, "I'm talking about a non-basketball issue right now. No, I'm not satisfied with anything right now. For them, we have a responsibility once we decide to play in this league to conduct ourselves in a certain way, and that's something we talked to them about [Monday]. We represent the Clippers, and we have to continue to do that. Everything that happens, obviously, you try to turn into a teaching lesson for your players."
Rivers further shared that the Los Angeles Clippers will just have "to figure it out [in Griffin's absence] because we're in a tough conference," saying that the team will need to "keep clawing."
On a positive note, Chris Paul stepped up to lead the group following Griffin's extended absence. He said, "It's tough; I don't know much about it. For me, I have to lead this team."