Things appeared to be near normal for Blake Griffin on Friday.
Before the Clippers practiced, he was shooting jumpers, just like he always does during that time. Only difference was, he was shooting them with his left hand.
There’s a chance that the Clippers power forward, who had surgery Feb. 9 to remove a staph infection from his right elbow, could be back on the court Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, who are at the top of the Western Conference, 8 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers before Friday’s games.
“I don’t know yet,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “We’ll see. We have two days of practice, so we’ll know more [then].”
Griffin did not practice with the team Friday, but Rivers said Monday that Griffin had been going “full-tilt” in his workouts while the Clippers were on their four-game trip.
The Clippers have been without Griffin for 11 games, winning seven. Griffin is the team’s leading scorer at 22.5 points a game. He also averages 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
“We’ve learned how to play without him,” center DeAndre Jordan said. “Whenever Blake comes back, we’ll be an even stronger team.”
Even though the Clippers are playing one of their fiercest rivals Sunday, Rivers emphasized that it would not hasten Griffin’s return. The Clippers beat the Warriors last season in a hard-fought seven-game first-round playoff series.
“Blake is going to come back when he’s healthy,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to throw a guy out there because it’s Golden State.”
Jamal Crawford (right calf bruise) and Matt Barnes (strained right hamstring) did not practice Friday. Neither played in the team’s 98-93 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Barnes also missed Monday’s 110-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the game in which Crawford suffered his injury.
Barnes is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, while Rivers said Crawford most likely will be out.
Woulda coulda shoulda
Jordan spoke to the media for the first time about Wednesday’s game against Portland, in which he caught an offensive rebound with 0.7 of a second left in regulation and the score tied 87-87, then held the ball as time expired.
He said that he was confused because the clock had stopped and a buzzer went off, which he assumed was for the shot-clock.
“I can tell you this,” he said. “If the shot clock goes off, I’m still going to shoot the ball from now on.”
The Clippers signed Jordan Hamilton to a second 10-day contract. The small forward has averaged 3.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 11.5 minutes in four games.
Rohlin is a Times correspondent.