When will Blake Griffin return? Depends if you ask him or Doc Rivers.

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The last time we saw Blake Griffin on a basketball court, it was Christmas Day against the Lakers. Griffin suffered a partially torn left quad. He’s missed nine games — and the Clippers have won all nine (they have a 10-game winning streak). The Clippers without Griffin run more of a spread pick-and-roll, Cole Aldrich has stepped up with some strong play, and everyone seems happy.

Still, the Clippers are better when Griffin is on the court, so when will he return?

Depends on who you ask.

This was Griffin himself after practice Friday, via Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.

Next Thursday the Clippers head out on that five-game road trip, which includes stops to face the Knicks, Raptors, Pacers, and Hawks. The Clippers could use Griffin in that stretch. But two days ago, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t expect Griffin that soon. From the Los Angeles Daily News:

“He’s running, which is nice and he looked great yesterday just moving around the gym,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before tipoff against the Heat. “But I think this thing is going to take time, if you want me to be honest. And I don’t know what that actually means.

“But I don’t think we should look for him any time soon.”

Players often tend to think they will return to the court more quickly than trainers or coaches will let them. That said, I’m not sure that’s the case here, Griffin has missed a chunk of time, but it sounds as if his recovery is coming along well. Barring any setbacks, I expect we will see him return to the court late next week or the week after — just like Griffin himself predicted.