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Clippers update from shootaround: Blake Griffin injury

October 27, 2009 |  1:12 pm
Blake Clippers rookie power forward Blake Griffin tried to hit the right notes this morning and say all the right things, but there was no hiding his discomfort and displeasure, both byproducts of the news that he will be out up to six weeks with a stress fracture of his left kneecap.

"It's a setback, but it's not major," he said during the team's shootaround at the training facility in Playa Vista. "It's something that I can work through and hopefully use this to work on other things to get better.

"It is a stress fracture of my kneecap, so it's a serious injury but it's not something that requires surgery. It's not something where I'm going to be out six months, half a year."

Griffin, the NBA's No. 1 overall draft pick in June, suffered the injury during the Clippers' final preseason game, on Friday against the Hornets. He winced when he came down after a powerful dunk late in the third quarter.

He reassured the team's training staff that night that he was fine. Even as late as Monday, Griffin was insisting to the Clippers he would be ready for the season opener tonight against the Lakers.

"He left the court yesterday, 'Not to worry, I'm playing tomorrow. I feel a lot better today,' " Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "The reality is the injury he had -- both doctors felt the same way about it. It's something he could play on it. But it won't get better. Once that became apparent, there's no question, let's shut it down. 

"I'd rather have you shut it down and be back in six weeks, 100%, playing at your highest level because that's what is going to make him the best. Him playing at a lesser level is probably not going to do us as much good."

Griffin's rehab will feature bone stimulation and something called PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment. Typically, PRP is a onetime thing and the Griffin would be restricted in his activities for about four weeks following the treatment.

"It's disappointing obviously for this to happen right now," he said. "But at the same time, as I keep saying, it's not something I'm going to let get me down. It's not going to do me any good to hold my head down and feel sorry for myself."

Griffin, by all accounts, is not the easiest of patients. When he initially hurt his knee -- in a collision with teammate Craig Smith on Sept. 24 -- Dunleavy and the trainers had to chase him off the court when he tried to do too much too soon.

"It's not so much his aggressive nature is that he needs to be more honest with his body and our medical personnel," Dunleavy said. "He's a warrior. He's trying to go out there and play hurt. But a lot of times he's telling us he's OK, that something is good, and really, he's still in some pain and trying to play through it."

The rookie may have finally learned an important lesson, and that there are consequences.

"I think he understands that better now," Dunleavy said. "Bottom line is that he's got to fully heal. Once he fully heals he's going to be OK."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press