It’s already out in the ether, but Blake Griffin won’t be in action until after January 1, per Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
The grand effect of this announcement on the Clippers’ fortunes this year is minor. Apart from eagerness and an intense desire to see Griffin perform in a Clippers’ uniform, precaution should far exceed anticipation as a motivation for suiting up a player. The competitive Western Conference doesn’t offer a lot of room for the Clippers to contend this season for a playoff spot — particularly with teams like Houston, Utah and Oklahoma City outperforming expectations.
Back on October 31, Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus spoke with Dr. Bill Carroll, author of Carroll Guide to Sports Injuries. With regard to Griffin’s treatment, Carroll wasn’t terribly impressed with the strategy:
The bad news is it sounds like they intend to treat it conservatively rather than surgically attach wires–conservative treatments usually lead to less successful results and subsequent reinjury if the athlete is to continue to perform at a high level. I have seen the ESPN replay of the injury and it appears to happen when he landed after dunkiing–since it is a stress fracture, that event can actually be no more than the ’straw that broke the camel’s back’ as a stress fracture is the result of repeated microtrauma–a case where subthreshold traumas accumulate and become threshold trauma.
Was Carroll correct in that the course of action chose for Griffin’s treatment led the medical staff to push back Griffin’s start date for fear of, as Carroll stated, subsequent reinjury? Who knows. As Mike Dunleavy routinely says when asked about injury timetables, “I’m not a medical person” — though it’s odd that the medical people were so imprecise with their initial prognosis.
Either way, the news is disappointing for a team that needs a jolt of energy, particularly on the glass where Griffin will provide the most help. On the other hand, I’d be more concerned if the organization made a calculated decision to rush Griffin back, whether out of impatience, a desire to sustain fan interest, or out of sheer carelessness.