May 15, 2012, 10:12 AM EDT
You knew Blake Griffin was hurting when he sat out much of the fourth quarter of Game 7 against the Grizzlies — the Clippers aren’t sitting their best big man down the stretch of a Game 7 unless they have to. Griffin landed awkwardly on a leap around the basket in Game 5 and played through a sprained knee the next two games, but was never moving well.
He admits he’s 75-80 percent but is going to give it a go and play in Game 1 against San Antonio on Tuesday, he told the media. Not a shock there.
With the Clippers going seven games against the Grizzlies there hasn’t been a lot of time to rest and let his knee recover. And now he gets Tim Duncan as a matchup. Welcome to the playoffs. Here are Blake’s quotes, via NBA.com.
“Yeah, no doubt. I’ll be playing tomorrow,” Griffin said following the Clippers’ practice on Monday afternoon. “I’m not 100 (percent). It’s tough to say. Hopefully by tomorrow night, 75 to 80. Hopefully, more than that. But realistically, probably not much more than that.
“Playing Friday night and then Sunday at noon was less rest than I normally get and that might have made it a little worse. But my knee (structurally) hasn’t gotten worse. That’s the encouraging thing. It’s one of those things where it needs time and we don’t have much of that.”
Coach Vinny Del Negro admitted that if this were the regular season Griffin would get a week or two off, but right now even the playoffs in the West are on a condensed schedule that includes a Saturday/Sunday back-to-back. Griffin is going to have to both play through it and play well, because the scouting report says that Duncan guy is pretty good.
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