Clippers' Blake Griffin says elbow not as sore as he expected it to be

Clippers' Blake Griffin says elbow not as sore as he expected it to be
Houston forward Donatas Motiejunas is defended by Blake Griffin, left, and Matt Barnes during the third quarter of Sunday's game. The Rockets beat the Clippers, 100-98. (Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

Blake Griffin said his right elbow feels better than he expected it would after playing Sunday for the first time since missing 15 games because of a staph infection that required surgery Feb. 9.

"[I'm] sore, but I expected to be sore," he said. "Actually I'm not as sore as I thought I was going to be, so that's encouraging for me."

Griffin said that his strength is only at 60%, and shooting a 10-foot jumper feels as though he's shooting from 15 feet.

"Anything pushing down is kind of painful, and once that strength comes back in my tricep it will take more pressure off my elbow," Griffin said. "It's just kind of sore and tight."

Griffin finished with 11 points on four-for-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers in just under 41 minutes in the team's 100-98 loss to the Rockets on Sunday.

"I didn't think I played very well," Griffin said. "Going into the game, I wasn't concerned about scoring. My big thing was facilitating, rebounding, playing defense and taking care of the ball. And obviously I didn't do a very good job at taking care of the ball."

Griffin, however, said he's just glad to be back on the court after contracting a staph infection.

"It was an infection that I had to sit out five weeks for, and miss all of this time," Griffin said. "It's definitely one of the weirdest things I've ever dealt with."

Griffin has more than just his return to celebrate.

Monday is the superstar power forward's birthday. When asked what he's going to do, he said absolutely nothing.

"That's the way I want it," he said.

Follow Melissa Rohlin on Twitter @melissarohlin