Blake Griffin yesterday withdrew from Team USA training camp with later reports citing a back injury picked up by the Los Angeles Clippers star during the 2014 NBA playoffs as a reason behind the decision.
A fairly legitimate excuse for any player to serve a leave of absence from international duty I am sure you would agree, especially when you consider the wear and tear that NBA superstars endure these days.
But, as is often the case when a high profile name pulls out of any event, there have been rumblings that Griffin's exit from the Team USA scene is simply in order to avoid a hectic summer in Spain and has nothing to do with an injury at all.
And those of a cynical persuasion have just been handed their own 'smoking gun' courtesy of the following video.
A video has been doing the rounds showing Blake Griffin performing elaborate backflips into the sea during a summer vacation in Croatia.
Unfortunately for the player himself, the video seems to date from June 28th - a full month after the LA Clippers 2014 Playoff run came to an end.
Now if the back fracture is legitimate, and did occur during the postseason as reported, surely you would have expected the star to be resting up on a sun lounger rather than partaking in elaborate sea-based activities?
Griffin isn't helped by the LA Clippers' insistence that they were unaware of any such back injury sustained by the player during the playoffs which only adds to the suspicion that the 'injury' isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The LA Times however did report this week that the franchise had confirmed the injury and were hopeful that Blake Griffin would be fully fit in time for the upcoming season.
Griffin, for his part, did not cite any injury when withdrawing from Team USA June 24th. Instead offering only a limited release:
Team USA exodus
Whether Griffin is truly injured or not remains to be seen but he is only the latest in what is becoming an increasingly long line of NBA stars who have withdrawn from international duty in the run up to Team USA training camp which began this week.
LeMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love have all pulled out for their own reasons recently with Team USA coaches let searching for replacements prior to this summer's World Cup in Spain.
Whilst the NBA is of course the main focus for these stars, the diluted roster that will be sent to the World Cup because of their decisions does somewhat decrease the stature of the summer tournament.
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