The Los Angeles Clippers have once again been hit by the injury bug as the team announced on Saturday that Blake Griffin will miss the rest of the playoffs with a toe injury.
Griffin left the first half of the Clippers Game 3 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday with the injury and did not return. As Griffin left the court, he slammed a chair while walking back to the locker room.
It’s the second straight season that the Clippers will try to advance without the help of Griffin.
Last season, both Griffin and Chris Paul were forced out of the playoffs with injuries, and the Clippers eventually lost the Portland Trail Blazers in six games in the first round.
The Clippers won’t receive any sympathy from the Jazz, who lost starting center Rudy Gobert on the first play of Game 1. Gobert has missed the last two games, but has not been ruled out of a postseason return. However, for the Clippers, the task of beating a short-handed but feisty Jazz team just grew taller. The Clippers lost Game 1 at the buzzer, rebounded in Game 2, and eventually rallied in Game 3 behind a heroic effort from Chris Paul.
Griffin led the team in scoring this season with 21.8 points per game, while chipping in eight rebounds and five assists per game. Paul explained how Griffin’s absence will affect the team, via ESPN.
“One of the biggest adjustments is, we probably won’t be able to play through the post so much. He’s such a dynamic player. We go to him in the post, and we cut and move off him. … He’s our other assist guy. Just his leadership, it’s just a different feeling when he’s on the court.”
The Clippers lead the Jazz 2-1 in the series, but will have to go the rest of the way without one of their best players.
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