Clippers’ Blake Griffin out for remainder of playoffs with injury to right foot, big toe

16 Comments

Once again, the Clippers — and Blake Griffin in particular — have been hit by the injury bug come the playoffs.

Griffin had to leave Game 3 of the Clippers/Jazz series with a toe injury. Saturday, the Clippers announced Griffin is out for the remainder of the playoffs with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. He will see a specialist when the Clippers return to Los Angeles, and from there a course of treatment will be determined, the team announced.

The plantar plate is a thick ligament that connects the toes to the rest of the foot. This ligament essentially keeps the toes in place, if it is torn the toes can move around and drift. It is incredibly painful to walk on as well, which obviously rules out running, leaping, and playing basketball. Treatment depends on the tear in the plate, but it can involve surgery.

The injury appeared to happen with just under four minutes to go in the second quarter. Griffin made a steal and pushed the ball down the court himself, finishing a layup past Rodney Hood. After Griffin landed, he was instantly limping. Griffin’s reaction when the injury happened — slamming a chair and reportedly saying “it is worse than it looks” — suggest he knew it was bad when it happened.

Last season the Clippers lost to Portland in the first round to Portland when Griffin suffered a quad injury then Chris Paul suffered a hand injury that sidelined the duo.

Los Angeles went on to win Game 3 Friday night behind a dominant second half from Chris Paul. The Clippers leaned heavily on the Paul/DeAndre Jordan pick-and-roll to create offense, and without Rudy Gobert — the Utah center is sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Game 1 — the Jazz were unable to slow it.

However, the Griffin injury makes it seemingly inevitable that the Clippers will not be making a deep playoff run. They have been hit by a string of bad luck in the playoffs for years, they’re a team that just can’t seem to catch a break. Last summer the Clippers spent a lot of money to bring their medical injury prevention efforts up to state-of-the-art. But luck still plays a big factor and that can’t be bought.

This injury and playoff exit will lead to some tough questions for Los Angeles this summer. Griffin, Paul, and Jordan have been together for six seasons and, if they fall in this round or the next this year, will have never made it out of the second round. Griffin and Paul can — and are expected to — opt out of the final year of their contracts this summer and become free agents, and J.J. Redick will hit the open market as well. How much is owner Steve Ballmer willing to pay to keep these guys together? Should they keep them together or break it up and try something else? There’s a lot of soul searching coming to L.A. this summer.

With Blake Griffin out Chris Paul dominates fourth quarter, leads Clippers to 115-111 win

Associated Press
2 Comments

In the first half it seemed everything went wrong for the Clippers.

First, Gordon Hayward went off for a Utah playoff record 21 points in the quarter on 7-of-8 shooting (he would finish the night with 40). Then late in the first half Blake Griffin suffered a bruised big toe — may well be a turf-toe injury — and he had to leave the game. Los Angeles was down 13 after one quarter and nine at the half, but more than that it was hard to see a path back to the win.

Then Chris Paul took over — he was the embodiment of the point god. CP3 had 24 second half points, he was attacking the paint or dishing to DeAndre Jordan rolling down the lane, and more than all that he completely controlled the flow of the contest.

He sparked a 15-0 Clipper run in the fourth — when the Jazz went scoreless for more than six minutes — to get Los Angeles a lead they would hold on to for a 115-111 road win.

The Clippers are now up 2-1 in the series with Game 4 in Utah Sunday.

“We can deal with adversity,” Paul said in a televised interview about what this game showed. “That’s one of our biggest hurdles, things that we’re trying to overcome.”

Playoff injuries have ended so many Clipper playoff runs in recent years, including last season when Paul and Griffin were injured in the first round allowing the Trail Blazers to advance. Griffin suffered his injury with just under four minutes to go in the second quarter, he had stolen the ball from Hayward and pushed it up himself, finishing a layup past Rodney Hood. After Griffin landed, he instantly started limping.

The X-rays on Griffin’s toe injury were negative, but there is no timetable yet for his return.

The injury set up the brilliance of Paul.

“The primary thing is the game becomes about Chris Paul in the pick-and-roll,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said about the adjustments after Griffin’s injury. “He’s arguably the best person doing that in the league, in terms of manufacturing the whole court. So that puts a lot of stress on the defense.”

Paul came out in the second half and attacked the paint more aggressively — something he can do with Rudy Gobert still out injured for Utah — and he was 5-of-6 shooting inside eight feet of the rim in that stretch. His drive started to force defenders to him, and then he would find a rolling DeAndre Jordan for the lob, or he would kick out to an open shooter. Paul was covered by Ingles to start most of the night but worked hard to get Derrick Favors switched on to him, then attacked.

It all worked. Plus the Clippers stepped up their defensive pressure, and that threw the Jazz off balance. Hayward went cold (1-of-4 in the fourth) and Utah started leaning heavily on Joe Johnson to create shots for himself and others (he was 3-of-6 in the fourth), but the balance was gone from the Utah offense.

Even when they got good looks, they just missed them during that fourth-quarter stretch where Utah’s offense fell apart. That ended up being the ball game.

Behind a couple buckets from Johnson late Utah kept it close, but the Clippers hit enough free throws that the Jazz were forced into desperation shots and passes — both of which Hayward missed badly in the final minute.

Until Gobert returns, the Clippers have a formula that works with the CP3/Jordan pick and roll, with them getting into the paint. Los Angeles had a ridiculous offensive rating of 125.4 in this game, against one of the best defenses in the league.

It falls to Utah to slow down the Clippers a little (easier said than done). The Jazz have to get shots, then get some shots — particularly threes — to fall late. The ball is in Quin Snyder’s court to make some adjustments so Utah can even this series on Sunday. And if one of those adjustments is not “Gobert is back” he’s going to need to get creative, and get some role players to step up.

Clippers’ Blake Griffin leaves Game 3 with bruised big toe, will not return

Leave a comment

Clippers’ fans have to be saying “come on, not again.”

Clippers forward Blake Griffin was forced to leave Game 3 against the Jazz due to a bruised big toe and will not return, the team has announced.

The injury appeared to happen with just under four minutes to go in the second quarter. Griffin made a steal and pushed the ball down the court himself, finishing a layup past Rodney Hood. After Griffin landed, he was instantly limping.

The fact X-rays were negative may be good news considering Griffin reacted like it was something worse.

Griffin had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting when he had to leave the game.

The Clippers have a history of being unlucky with playoff injuries. Last year, they lost in the first round to Portland when both Griffin and Chris Paul suffered series-ending injuries.

The Jazz have had to play without their anchor in the middle in Rudy Gobert all series after he suffered a bone bruise to his knee :17 seconds into Game 1.

Rudy Gobert out for Jazz-Clippers Game 3

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
1 Comment

The Clippers successfully attacked the rim with Rudy Gobert sidelined to even their series with the Jazz, 1-1.

Utah’s All-NBA-caliber center won’t alter the dynamic in Game 3 tomorrow.

Andy Larsen of KSL:

The Jazz have gone with Derrick Favors, Jeff Withey and Boris Diaw at center to varying success.

But Withey’s status is unclear with his ex-fiancée reportedly accusing him of domestic violence.

Larsen:

Report: Jazz center Jeff Withey accused of domestic violence by ex-fiancée

Harry How/Getty Images
4 Comments

Jazz center Jeff Withey and his former fiancée went through a public breakup last year.

With Utah playing the Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, that relationship is again drawing attention.

TMZ:

Utah Jazz center Jeff Withey has been accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his Playboy Playmate of the Year ex-fiancee, Kennedy Summers … TMZ Sports has learned.

Law enforcement sources confirm the report was filed in Manhattan Beach, CA on Tuesday and references multiple alleged incidents. We’re told cops are focused on one alleged incident from 2016.

Our law enforcement sources tell us cops were called to an incident involving Withey and Summers last year, but no report was made at the time and nobody was arrested.

Sources connected to Summers tell us she filed the report now because Withey and the Jazz are in an NBA playoff series with the L.A. Clippers and she’s concerned for her safety when he’s in L.A.

It’s unclear when in 2016 the alleged incident occurred. Withey played in Los Angeles on March 25, 2017 before returning for the first two games of the Jazz-Clippers series.

Game 5 will be in L.A. on Tuesday.