Blake Griffin glided across the basketball court at Mira Costa High on Tuesday, his 6-foot-10 frame moving effortlessly as he went through a series of shooting drills with former Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic at Manhattan Beach.
After Griffin’s second extended morning workout, the Clippers forward climbed aboard a training table and had his back stretched and contorted every which way by his trainer, Robbie Davis. Griffin then hit the court for another session.
Griffin had pulled out of Team USA’s basketball training camp for the FIBA World Cup because of back concerns, though the All-Star said they haven’t “restricted” him.
“It’s less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact,” Griffin said. “I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn’t be playing and practicing everyday this early.”
Griffin had to weigh playing for USA Basketball until the tournament is over on Sept. 14 against not strengthening or resting his back for another long run with the Clippers.
“My whole thing is that I didn’t want to go into [Clippers training] camp and put myself in a worse position,” he said. “It’s not that my back is broken and I’m walking around with a broken back, or I’m in so much pain.
“But if I start playing basically two months earlier than everybody else and then go through all of next season and the playoffs, then I’m probably going to put myself in a bad position. I couldn’t do that.”
Davis and his group from Gameshape Inc. have put together a series of core exercises to strengthen Griffin’s back.
“There’s no names to these exercises, so it’s hard for me to describe them,” said Davis, whose group also works with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Vujacic and other NBA players. “But it’s really just keeping his hip stabilizers really strong so that he can stabilize that area and the muscles that surround his lower back.”
Griffin and Jordan both said they didn’t follow the recent trial involving Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but players said they were happy to hear a probate judge’s ruling cleared a path for the $2-billion sale of the team to Steve Ballmer.
With the Clippers’ training camp set to start at the end of September in Las Vegas, Jordan said that now “we can focus on playing and the right things,” Jordan said.
The workaholic Griffin did shut it down for about three weeks after the season was over, went to Europe for 10 days, and plans to go to Hawaii with his family in September.
Other than that, Griffin will work on his game and body.
“I think I’m just kind of learning more about my body and getting smarter where I’m not killing myself every day,” Griffin said. “I’m doing things that are necessary to get me to that level.”