Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin told officials he was experiencing discomfort in his knee during a scrimmage for Team USA. He didn’t show any signs of a serious injury on Wednesday, but a source said his knee “swelled up” after the scrimmage. Turns out it is much worse than just some swelling, as he has been diagnosed with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. According to the LA Times, he will have arthroscopic surgery early next week. The Times and NBA executives say they expect him to be out at least 8 weeks, but should be ready for Clippers training camp in October.
“We’re relieved that this does not affect Blake’s ability to be ready in time for training camp,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said in a statement. “Missing out on the Olympic experience will be tough for him to take. I know how dedicated he was to doing that. We’re glad we can get this fixed now and take advantage of the available time for him to fully recover.”
Griffin, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, signed a five-year extension with the Clippers that could be worth as much as $95 million on Wednesday. The front office is probably not too happy with the current situation after giving him such a large contract, but that’s the risk athletes take these days when agreeing to play for the Olympics. However, it might be possible this injury had nothing to do with playing for Team USA in the Olympics.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo suggested the soreness in Griffin’s knee was related to the injury he suffered during the 2012 NBA playoffs. “The reality is, that injury took place at the end of the season,” Colangelo said. “And he had an option to get scoped and he opted not to get scoped. And so, I guess he aggravated it. Whether he’s able to play now remains to be seen.”
Blake is not the only American to miss the 2012 Olympics in London with injuries. Team USA is already without Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, who all suffered injuries down the stretch of last year’s shortened, lockout NBA season. Kentucky star and the NBA’s #1 draft pick, Anthony Davis, has replaced Griffin on the roster. Still, Blake was not missed much on Thursday night, as Team USA demolished Dominican Republic 113-59.
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