Earlier this season, Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin missed 14 games due to a sprained knee.
Averaging 23.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season, Griffin is widely recognized as the most valuable member of the Clippers. Therefore, when he returned to action on December 29, the Clippers organization had a lot to be optimistic about, even though several other key players are still dealing with various injuries.
In fact, Austin Rivers (foot), Danilo Gallinari (glute) and Milos Teodosic (foot) all missed Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors and Patrick Beverley (knee) is out for the remainder of the season.
Heading into that game, the Clippers had gone 3-1 since Griffin returned and were looking to make a major statement.
However, the game went badly in two ways for them.
First, they fell apart in the second half and lost the game by the score of 121-105.
Secondly, they might have lost Griffin for an extended period of time once again.
At the end of the first quarter, Griffin drove to the basket and was met by JaVale McGee’s inadvertent elbow under the hoop. He then collapsed to the floor, grabbed his head, shaking his hands and stayed on the floor for many minutes before getting up and walking off the court and into the locker room under his own power.
Here’s another angle.
Doc Rivers talked about the incident after the game. Seeing Griffin go down with an injury for the second time this season wasn't an easy pill to swallow for the coach, especially since the effects of concussions can linger for long periods of time depending on a variety of factors.
"He got hit pretty hard," Rivers told reporters. "You can always tell ... when those players stick around, you know it was a hard hit. And then when you see Blake's hand, you knew it was bad."
Teammate DeAndre Jordan also reacted to it, but with an optimistic point of view. He also noted that Griffin's overall health means more than when he returns to the court.
"I think Blake's a pretty tough guy. He should be OK. We definitely want to be cautions and do whatever he needs to do to be able to play, but you want him to be healthy as well ... He took a pretty good hit, and we're just hoping that he gets healthy fast,” he explained.
Griffin missed the rest of the game and will enter the league’s concussion protocol.