The Los Angeles Clippers received brutal news Tuesday afternoon that likely spells the end of their season.
The Clippers announced that Blake Griffin is out for the season after aggravating a quad injury, and Chris Paul is out “indefinitely” after getting surgery on his broken right hand.
Both injuries were sustained in Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round series with the Portland Trailblazers, which is now tied 2-2. The battle to get out of the first round became that much harder, to say nothing of playing the Warriors in the second round (assuming Golden State eliminates the Houston Rockets).
While Paul hasn’t been ruled out, his original prognosis was a three- to six-week recovery. It’s unlikely the shorthanded Clippers could last that long to beat the Blazers and hold off the Warriors to get Paul back on the court.
The Clippers have been able to survive injuries to Paul and Griffin before, but losing both at the same time is likely be too much to overcome. Without Paul and Griffin, the Clippers are without their two best scorers and their two best playmakers.
Dan Woike of the O.C. Register put it best when pondering if this is the worst moment in the history of the tortured franchise:
That you have to try and think if last night was the worst night in Clipper history speaks to how horrible last night was.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) April 26, 2016
For a brief moment, the Clippers looked poised to finally break through to the Western Conference Finals, a round they have never reached before. With Stephen Curry out for at least two weeks, a healthy Clippers squad had an advantage on the shorthanded Warriors should they meet in the second round.
Now, their future is uncertain. Doc Rivers mentioned before the season that this team could be broken up if they don’t make any significant progress this season. The Clippers will almost certainly fall short of their goal again, and with everyone a year older and a year closer to free agency, the Clippers’ window looks shut.