When the Clippers landed in Oklahoma City on Saturday, Blake Griffin didn’t accompany the team to its hotel.
He went directly to a hospital.
The forward’s right elbow was oddly swollen, prompting Clippers trainer Jasen Powell to advise him to get it checked out.
“It just didn’t look right,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Sunday.
Doctors determined Griffin had a staph infection that would require surgery. He will have the procedure Monday in Los Angeles to remove the infection and could be sidelined from 10 days to six weeks.
“It’s the unknown,” Rivers said. “If it’s a sprained ankle, you know [it’s] 10 days. With infections, you just have to be very careful. You cannot mess around with them.”
The Clippers expect to have a better idea of Griffin’s timetable after his surgery. Griffin will miss the All-Star game Feb. 15 in New York, with Portland’s Damian Lillard taking his place.
Griffin was averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 50.1%. He did not speak with reporters before the game.
Spencer Hawes replaced Griffin in the starting lineup against Oklahoma City, but Rivers said he would vary his lineup depending on matchups.
When Glen Davis left the game against the Thunder in the second quarter, it left the Clippers with three available big men in DeAndre Jordan, Hawes and seldom-used reserve Ekpe Udoh.
“If you can get through this it could be a blessing in disguise,” Rivers said before the game, “or it could go the other way for you.”
Griffin had his elbow drained in New York earlier this week while dealing with bursitis, but the staph infection caught the Clippers by surprise.
“We were kind of joking around with him when he didn’t have the pad on it how big it was getting and obviously I didn’t think that was the cause,” Hawes said. “I’m just glad they caught it and he got it taken care of.”