The Los Angeles Clippers knocked off the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, clinching a spot in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The Clippers are the third team in the Western Conference to punch their ticket to the postseason and, possibly more importantly, are headed to the playoffs for the franchise-record third season in a row.
It’s no mistake that the Clippers’ turnaround has coincided with the arrival of Chris Paul via free agency and the quickly developing Blake Griffin. However, the Clippers’ clinching their third consecutive playoff-berth was marred by the fact that Griffin went down in the first quarter with a back injury.
In that first 12-minute period, Griffin fell to the floor grasping his back and was then taken to the locker room. He didn’t return. He was actually productive in the mere six minutes he was on the floor, putting up seven points, one rebound, one assist and one block in his time on the court. However, the injury could be a relatively big blow to this Clippers team.
Back spasms are the type of injury that could be isolated and dissipate quickly or that could linger for quite a while. It’s relatively hard to determine how they’re going to affect a player and how long they are going to keep him out of action. If you’re assuming the worst without any further reports on the injury, though, Griffin could potentially be due to miss some time and possible be less-than-100-percent in the postseason.
Griffin has been enjoying inarguably the best season of his career. Particularly when Paul was sidelined with a shoulder injury, Griffin has taken his performance to a new level and has really expanded his repertoire on the offensive end of the floor. Moreover, he’s really been the Clippers’ most dependable option this season and has been their leader for much of the year as well. If this is something that lingers, this team that has looked like contenders as of late could wind up facing disappointment in the postseason once again.