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Back spasms force Blake Griffin to leave after playing just six minutes against Rockets

Mar 30, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT

blake griffin Getty Images

The Clippers overcame an early 15-point deficit in Houston to clinch a playoff spot with a double-digit win over the Rockets, but it was anything but easy.

Houston was playing without Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley, so L.A. should have had a relatively stress-free night at the office. But Blake Griffin was forced to leave after playing just six minutes due to back spasms, which is going to be a huge cause for concern as the team enters the final few weeks of the regular season.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

Griffin departed with 5:48 left in the first quarter. He was grabbing his lower back as he walked off the court and continued to hold it as he bit his jersey in the Clippers’ huddle during a timeout. He then limped off the court with Clippers trainer Jasen Powell to the locker room. …

Griffin has been dealing with hip issues recently, and Rivers believes that led to the back injury.

“It was his hip yesterday, it had nothing do with his back, but I think that’s what triggered it,” Rivers said. “Whatever was going on before, that’s what triggered the back injury. It scared the hell out of me because I’ve had that reaction myself. That’s a back injury. They don’t think it’s awful, but it’s a back injury.”

While it’s too early to panic, back spasms can be extremely unpredictable and difficult for an athlete to deal with. Kevin Garnett is obviously much further along in his career, but he’s been dealing with the same injury for weeks now with no end in sight.

Griffin has been the best player on the Clippers for the bulk of the season, and once you get past guys named Kevin Durant and LeBron James, he’s high on the list of players in that next tier who would deserve to be in the MVP conversation. It goes without saying that L.A. will need him at full strength once the postseason begins, otherwise another first round playoff exit is almost assuredly on the horizon.

  1. harshedmellow - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    Time wounds all heels, the rat bastid.

  2. sportsfan18 - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Griffin HAS improved a lot this yr from previous yrs but he has not been their best player.

    Chris Paul is the engine of that team.

    People notice when players improve a lot, which Blake has done. Chris has been consistently good and at a high level each season in the NBA including his rookie yr.

    So Chris is just being himself and others notice and see Blake having a breakout yr and they think Blake is their best player.

    He isn’t. People take for granted how Chris plays. They say he’s just having another typical yr.

    Well, Chris Paul has been very consistent in his NBA career from his Rookie season right through this season.

    Chris Paul is in 6th place ALL TIME for having the highest career PER.

    MJ is 1st, LeBron is 2nd, Shaq is 3rd, David Robinson is 4th, Wilt Chamberlain is 5th and then Chris Paul.

    Paul is higher than all others… players like Magic, Kareem, Bill Russell, Bird, Oscar Robertson or anyone else one may mention.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Sportsfan7,

      They went 12-6 WITHOUT Chris Paul. 2 of those 6 losses came at the hands of the Spurs & the Pacers…that could’ve happened with Paul. Darren Collison (who you’ve called a bum) started in place of Paul & they didn’t miss a beat. They have Blake Griffin to thank for that.

      They can’t contend for a championship without Paul….but they can’t without Griffin either.

  3. mat9844 - Mar 30, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    That total silence that occurred when Blake went down was from the thousands of Clipper fans holding their breath. Really scary. At least he was able to walk off the court. Breathe again. Now we just need to see him back and healthy. Best Wishes, Blake.

  4. rodyaugu - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Now he knows how it feels to carry the load. He’s been the best player for the clips this season.

  5. imakcds - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    a Cheap Shot Artist that can jump out of the arena, jumps so high the NBA protects him. Griffin has pizzed off ALOT of different players on ALOT of different teams, and it ain’t because he jumps so high.

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