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Report: Blake Griffin withdrew from Team USA training camp due to back fracture

Jul 28, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT

Blake Griffin, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka Blake Griffin, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka

Blake Griffin decided not to play for Team USA in the World Cup this summer, which, in itself, is fine.

A lot of people were curious about the reason, but Griffin offered only a vague explanation:

However, right now I want to focus and dedicate 100 percent of my energy on improving and preparing for the upcoming season with the Clippers.

Turns out, he had a more-specific reason.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin withdrew from Team USA training camp for the FIBA World Cup last week because he was advised by doctors to give a small fracture in his back more time to heal before the start of the next NBA season, sources with knowledge of the situation told

Griffin is expected to make a full recovery from the injury, which sources say was suffered during the playoffs. However, doctors advised him to sit out of international competition this summer for precautionary reasons.

I’m not sure why this had to be leaked through anonymous sources rather than just announced initially. This certainly makes Griffin look better than the speculation that he just doesn’t care enough about representing his country.

If Griffin is injured, he should take all the time he feels he needs. It’s a bummer the Americans won’t have him in Spain later this summer, but Anthony Davis can take a larger role, and some combination of DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried and Paul Millsap can fill in behind Griffin.

The Clippers can’t so easily replace Griffin, and though it sounds minor in Shelburne’s description, a back fracture – especially for a big man – could be spun differently. Hopefully, there’s nothing more to this injury and sitting out the World Cup is enough to fully heal Griffin.

  1. mazblast - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    The timing of this revelation bothers me. I get the feeling that if Donald “Sterling” had won his court case today, Griffin would have played in the World Cup, THEN cited his back as a reason to “have to miss” time with the Clippers.

    Or I could be indulging in overthinking.

    In any event, I wish him a full recovery. He’s one heck of a player.

    • blogsk3tball - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      I am pretty sure he could of cited “racism” as the reason for not playing with the Clippers. The league would of backed him… No pun intended

    • casualcommenter - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:25 AM

      Honestly, I think it was a situation where at first he didn’t think there would be too much attention fan attention in the US to the Basketball World Cup.

      However, once it became clear that Griffin’s unexplained decision to withdraw was generating criticism from media personalities like Bill Simmons, who alleged in his most recent podcast that Griffin MAY have withdrawn out of ego because he was told he might not be a starter, a member of Griffin’s inner circle felt the need to explain the absence. In other words, to stay ahead of any negative rumors.

  2. casualcommenter - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Well, this definitely qualifies as a legit reason to sit out the tournament.

    You could argue he should’ve just mentioned the back fracture as soon as he withdrew, but I think he wanted to avoid his injury turning into a major offseason story that would follow him around until the start of the regular season.

    With this revelation, I wouldn’t rule out ESPN taking a break from their daily LeBron and Johnny Football coverage to begin obsessing over this injury for the next couple of days at least.

  3. wordyduke - Jul 29, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    There was video floating around that purportedly showed Blake on vacation diving back flips into the Mediterranean.

    So that was bogus, or from some other year?

  4. 24thesho - Jul 29, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    My theory is that he withdrew because the “Lebrons”, “Wades”, and the “Melos” of the NBA will not be participating in the FIFA games including, the Olympics, hence, his slight “back fracture”. There are no real superstars, except Anthony Davis who is on his way. The “John Walls” and “Paul Georges” of the NBA are just not quite ready to fill those roles, yet.
    Maybe in in 2018, when these talented players mature a bit more.

    • spursareold - Jul 29, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      So, the league MVP isn’t a superstar?

      • urallstupid - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        no he’s a role player

  5. devarajaswami - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Wow, he must have flopped really hard in some game to fracture his back bad enough to back out of representing his country….

  6. cantonbound13 - Jul 29, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    The unfortunate condition is called Wadeitis. It’s a back pain caused by excessive flopping. He needs to sit out half the season, whine & ask for a big contract. He can also ride his teammate’s coat tails to the Finals.

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