Blake Griffin’s recovery takes another step forward
Forward motion is, as they say, a good thing.
It’s gotten so that not-so-bad news about the Clippers’ highly regarded rookie power forward and No. 1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin actually falls into the good-news department.
On the face of it, word from the team Wednesday about Griffin’s being cleared by doctors to begin running on an anti-gravity treadmill is a positive development.
Griffin received the medical clearance after a series of tests on his injured left knee Tuesday, including a CT scan and MRI exam. He suffered a stress fracture of his left kneecap in the Clippers’ final exhibition game on Oct. 23 against New Orleans.
That was two months ago.
Original projections had Griffin coming back in six weeks.
You could say it was either overly optimistic or the byproduct of a tricky injury, which makes his return such a moving target. Early December turned into mid-December and then late December.
Now it is looking more like Griffin’s return to game action is closer to the end of January, which means he will miss, at the very least, half the season. Already, he has been out for 28 games, and the Clippers are 12-16, having lost three of their last four.
If all goes according to plan, Griffin would then be cleared to resume basketball-related activities in three weeks.
Ultimate translation: scrimmaging.
Before then, it is the anti-gravity treadmill for a week and then hitting a “normal full-body weight treadmill.”
It is unclear how long it will take Griffin to complete the final stage, from full-out scrimmaging to getting minutes in games.
Last week, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy talked about the uncertainty of that last step during a pregame session with a few reporters.
“I don’t know,” Dunleavy said. “That’s what they’ll tell me. Until you see where he is at, once he is allowed to go, then you’ve got to evaluate. ‘Where is he on a conditioning scale of one to 10?’
“Conditioning-wise, timing-wise, basketball-wise.”
Griffin has the advantage of treating Clippers practices like basketball tutorials.
“I’m pretty sure from the standpoint of basketball knowledge-wise, as far as knowing our stuff, he’s right on top of it,” Dunleavy said.
“He’s been very diligent, very studious. Being at our practices, I see him on the side with the clipboard, drawing up things that we do. I think he’s staying ahead of the curve in that regard. He’s got a great IQ.”
Someone joked that Griffin would probably slide into the role of an assistant coach, if asked.
“We’d be glad to have him,” Dunleavy said, smiling.