Watch Blake Griffin talk about his struggles in return

Clippers forward Blake Griffin says, 'I didn't think I played well' in his first game back from elbow surgery

Blake Griffin returned to the court Sunday after missing 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery.

The Clippers' superstar evaluated his comeback after the team's 100-98 loss to the Houston Rockets.

"I didn't think I played well," Griffin said. "I was out of rhythm, way too many turnovers, obviously."

Griffin finished with 11 points on four-for-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers in just under 41 minutes.

"I knew I wasn't going to be great after not having any contact for over five weeks, really," he said. "I knew I was going to be off."

Griffin said that his tricep is only at 60% strength, and that he wasn't even able to shoot from 10 feet until Thursday.

"There's no pain really when I shoot, but a free throw feels like I'm at the top of the key," he said. "The two shots I shot tonight were both short and I felt like I heaved them up there. It's just a matter of getting that strength back, but also knowing how hard I have to shoot."

Griffin had surgery to remove the staph infection on Feb. 9. He wasn't able to do any conditioning for three weeks following the operation, and he said he didn't feel ready to handle contact until early last week.

After Sunday's game he acknowledged that his elbow felt "a little bit sore."

"Especially with 15 games left, it's hard to be patient," Griffin said. "It's such a tight race, everybody is trying to get their [playoff] spot."

Without Griffin, the Clippers won nine of their 15 games. Griffin praised his teammates for stepping up in his absence, adding that he hopes everyone will continue to perform at a high level.

"As far as adjustments, I hope nobody feels like they have to adjust," Griffin said.

The power forward said that while his shooting touch remains less-than-perfect, he wants to concentrate on other aspects of his game to help the Clippers, who are in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 42-25.

"Doc [Rivers] says when one thing isn't working, do something else to help your team, and that's what I need to find," Griffin said of his coach. "I need to find an area where I can help with not scoring the ball."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times