Blake Griffin is 'very close' to a return to action for the Los Angeles Clippers

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Football News

Blake Griffin has been out of action since December, but during his jersey ceremony in Oklahoma, where his Sooners jersey was lifted into the rafter, the forward admitted he was 'very close' to a return to action.

He gave fans even more reason to be excited on Wednesday night as he warmed up with his teammates before their comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder - the biggest come from behind victory of the season. It was the first time he had done so since his injuries. 

The 26-year-old was putting up mid-range jumpers and it seems only a matter of time before he returns to the starting five for the Los Angeles franchise, who are one of the form teams in the league post-All-Star. 

Doc Rivers also said the five-time All-Star was 'very close' to a return: “The last couple days, he’s been playing and looking great," said the 2008 championship-winning coach.

Rivers said that Griffin still has not been cleared for contact, but it is a huge jump from last week when the coach said he still felt the forward was some way off a return to the hardwood. 

The Clippers have been on a roll since Griffin's last game - a Christmas Day 94-84 win over city rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. In his absence, the Pacific Divison franchise have won 23 of their 30 games. 

Their victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder was a statement of intent that showed they mean business in a stacked Western Conference. Just one and a half games back from last night's opponents, they will have the third spot firmly in their sights. 

Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and J. J. Redick have been in inspired form but will surely welcome the return of their star forward. Griffin is a big name who is capable of big plays, and he should give them the momentum to go deep into the playoffs this year.

The Clippers, who are second in their division behind runaway leaders the Golden State Warriors, take their three-game winning streak into Sunday's showdown with the Atlanta Hawks. 

The Eastern Conference franchise - who fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 Conference Finals - hold a 12-11 record against teams from the opposing coast and currently trail the Clippers 1-0 in the two-game series. 

A home record of 21-10 should give the Clippers the confidence they need to overcome the Hawks and keep the pressure on the Thunder, who they face at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 10 - the second of a two-game road trip that also sees them face the Dallas Mavericks.

The Clippers mean business this season, and the return of Griffin will only help their cause.

L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Chris Paul
Blake Griffin

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