When Blake Griffin suffered a knee injury July 11, he acknowledged that he was “a little bit” worried that it was serious.
He had sustained torn cartilage in his left knee, the same knee that prevented him from playing his rookie year and hobbled him during the team’s playoff run.
Griffin said that he immediately recognized the injury but, before seeing a doctor, he was concerned about its severity.
“Luckily it wasn’t too bad,” Griffin told The Times in an interview after attending Subway’s SUBPrize birthday party in West Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Griffin hurt his knee while training with Team USA in Las Vegas. He had knee surgery July 16 and was unable to play in the Olympic Games in London.
But don’t expect that injury to keep him sidelined for much longer.
When asked how he’s doing, Griffin said, “Feeling good, pretty much at 100%.”
The Clippers superstar power forward said he’s been shooting for a while now and began doing drills this week. He intends to work on getting his stamina back and perfecting his low-post moves before the team starts training camp Oct. 1.
While sitting in a car near the restaurant to avoid the clamor of people shouting his name, Griffin reflected on last season, an exciting high-flying stretch in the franchise’s history, which included an appearance in the second-round of the playoffs.
The highlight: “Definitely winning Game Seven and getting that first-round playoff win,” Griffin said.
The nadir: “Right after that, playing the Spurs and not playing very well,” he said. “A lot of guys being nagged with injuries and getting swept. Obviously that’s never something you want to happen but hopefully we’ll learn from it and be better for this next season.”
When asked about his goals for next season, specifically whom he’s most looking forward to posterizing, Griffin flashed a smile.
“Nobody; I’m done dunking,” he deadpanned. “I’m done.”
Griffin, however, was quick to show excitement while talking about his teammates, who now include recent acquisitions Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford.
“Jamal is obviously a great player and a great guy off the bench for us,” Griffin said. “Lamar is going to be the same way. I mean Grant Hill, the list goes on and on. These guys are very good and we’re definitely excited to have them.”
Griffin made it clear that his confidence in his team’s ability to become a force in the West was not tempered by the Lakers’ offseason moves.
He added that he didn’t feel any disappointment when he heard that his Staples Center neighbors had picked up Dwight Howard.
“It’s just one player, one team,” he said. “There’s still 28 other teams in the NBA that we have to go against besides them. It’s good for them, it’s good for L.A. basketball and it’s good for the NBA.”
So too is having a healthy Griffin at the season’s start.