But when in April?
The Clippers have just 13 games before the postseason, and again, Griffin is due to miss four once he’s ready to play.
Rivers said he was “confident” Griffin would play before the playoffs start around the weekend of April 16.
“I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but I do feel like he’ll be back,” Rivers said. “Just not sure when.”
The Clippers, who are 3-6 in their last nine games, have reminded everyone why they need Griffin. Whatever floor-spacing issues he brings, he’s an excellent mid-range player (as a scorer and distributor), fantastic finisher and helpful rebounder.
There’s a reason teams are usually better with their stars on the court.
But the Clippers found a comfortable style with Griffin sidelined. This slump might cause them to welcome him back with more open arms, but there will still be an adjustment period as their spacing changes.
The biggest question is whether Griffin will be back for the playoffs. (Related: If he’s not ready to play with four regular-season games remaining, would his suspension carry into the playoffs?) It’ll also be important for the Clippers to optimize their play with him in the postseason.
The sooner he returns, the better they can prepare to do that.