Blake Griffin out four to six weeks after breaking hand in fight with team employee
Blake Griffin will be out an additional four to six weeks after the Clippers’ All-Star forward broke a bone in his right hand when he punched an assistant equipment manager in Toronto on Saturday.
Mathias Testi suffered a severely swollen face but no fractures in the altercation and returned to Los Angeles, as did Griffin, after the incident. Griffin underwent a procedure on his hand Tuesday morning.
The altercation started inside a restaurant with a back-and-forth exchange that led outside, with Grififn throwing multiple punches, said a league executive with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to publicly disclose it.
“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said in a statement. “We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”
It was not immediately known whether Testi would pursue legal action against Griffin or the Clippers. He remains employed by the team.
The injury means Griffin will be unable to play in the All-Star game Feb. 14 in Toronto even if he is selected to be among the reserves for the Western Conference roster. The reserves will be announced Thursday.
If Griffin is out for six weeks then he would have only roughly a month left to play before the playoffs.
“I always say, four to six weeks with a broken hand is unrealistic, I’ll tell you that,” said Rivers before his team’s game against the Pacers on Tuesday. “This type of stuff shouldn’t happen. But it did. And it’s real life, and you have to live with real life stuff.
Was Rivers satisfied with Griffin’s story of the incident?
“I’m not satisfied with anything. I’m talking about a non-basketball issue right now,” he said. “You talk to everyone involved and you care about everyone involved...I feel bad for everyone involved, not just the player.”
It is the second physical altercation involving Griffin in the last 16 months. A West Hollywood man accused Griffin of snatching his cellphone and grabbing him after the man took a picture of Clippers players at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas.
The misdemeanor battery case was later dropped after prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence.
Griffin had already been sidelined since the day after Christmas with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon and had hoped to return on the Clippers’ current five-game trip.
But Griffin flew back to Los Angeles on Sunday before the end of a trip that will conclude with games against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
The Clippers have gone 11-3 in Griffin’s absence, though most of the victories have come against teams with losing records.
“With Blake out, we’ve had this mode of trying to win every game and that’s how we have to continue to play,” Rivers said.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch
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