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Clippers' Blake Griffin will not play against Minnesota Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS — Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin will not play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night because of back spasms.

Griffin will sit out a game for the first time this season and Jared Dudley will take his place in the starting lineup.

With the playoffs about three weeks away, the Clippers have been contemplating for the past few days whether to shut down Griffin for a while so that he can be 100% healthy.

“This part of the season is important, obviously, as far as [playoff] positioning and everything else,” Griffin said earlier Monday at the team’s shoot-around. “The last two years in the playoffs, I’ve been banged up. I haven’t been 100%. I don’t want it to be that way this year. So I’m trying to be smart about it and I’m trying to be proactive and not do anything to make it a prolonged healing process."

The Clippers have one game left on a five-game trip after leaving Minnesota. They play at Phoenix on Wednesday night.

The Clippers will have seven regular-season games left after Monday, and their hope is that Griffin can get his ailing back healthy again.

Griffin was injured midway through the first quarter Saturday night in Houston. He left the game and didn't return.

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