Blake Griffin decided not to play for Team USA in the World Cup this summer, which, in itself, is fine.
A lot of people were curious about the reason, but Griffin offered only a vague explanation:
However, right now I want to focus and dedicate 100 percent of my energy on improving and preparing for the upcoming season with the Clippers.
Turns out, he had a more-specific reason.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin withdrew from Team USA training camp for the FIBA World Cup last week because he was advised by doctors to give a small fracture in his back more time to heal before the start of the next NBA season, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
Griffin is expected to make a full recovery from the injury, which sources say was suffered during the playoffs. However, doctors advised him to sit out of international competition this summer for precautionary reasons.
I’m not sure why this had to be leaked through anonymous sources rather than just announced initially. This certainly makes Griffin look better than the speculation that he just doesn’t care enough about representing his country.
If Griffin is injured, he should take all the time he feels he needs. It’s a bummer the Americans won’t have him in Spain later this summer, but Anthony Davis can take a larger role, and some combination of DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried and Paul Millsap can fill in behind Griffin.
The Clippers can’t so easily replace Griffin, and though it sounds minor in Shelburne’s description, a back fracture – especially for a big man – could be spun differently. Hopefully, there’s nothing more to this injury and sitting out the World Cup is enough to fully heal Griffin.