Clippers, Griffin Discuss Star’s Hand Injury
On Tuesday, news surfaced that Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin had suffered a spiral fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand on Jan. 23 in Toronto.
Soon, details started to trickle out suggesting that he threw a punch at the Clippers’ assistant equipment manager, Matias Testi, who reportedly had to go to the hospital following the incident.
An ESPN report says that the two are close friends, who have even vacationed together. They were apparently trading insults at dinner when things escalated, leading to the altercation. The fight left Griffin with a broken bone in his right hand, which will cause him to miss four-to-six weeks.
Because he’s injured, Griffin will miss the All-Star game next month. He had already been out since injuring his quad during the Clippers’ Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Today, the Clippers released a joint statement from Owner Steve Ballmer and President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers: “This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team. We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”
Rivers elaborated on his comments in interviews today, expressing his disappointment with Griffin and calling the issue a frustrating distraction.
“You don’t want it to happen to anyone, and you obviously don’t want it to happen during the season or even when the season is not going on,” Rivers said, according to ESPN’s Mike Wells. “This type of stuff shouldn’t happen, but it did, and it’s real life, and you have to deal with real life sometimes in our make-believe world.
“For [players], we have a responsibility once we decide to play in this league to conduct ourselves in a certain way, and that’s something we talked to them about [Monday]. We represent the Clippers, and we have to continue to do that. Everything that happens, obviously, you try to turn into a teaching lesson for your players.”
Perhaps most concerning is that Rivers doesn’t feel that Griffin can actually return in the four-to-six week timetable that the team announced.
“I always say four-to-six weeks for a broken hand is unrealistic,” Rivers said. “I’ll tell you that, just my opinion. We don’t talk about injuries for guys who aren’t playing. We just don’t.”
Griffin took to social media to offer an explanation and apologize for his actions.
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) January 27, 2016
Chris Paul, the team’s other perennial All-Star, offered his thoughts on the situation.
“It’s tough; I don’t know much about it,” Paul said, according to ESPN. “For me, I have to lead this team.
“We’re all like family. That’s how we’re going to deal with this, like family. At the end of the day, we control what we can control. We still have a job to do.”
The Clippers have gone 12-3 with Griffin sidelined, and they are currently in the Western Conference’s fourth seed. On the season, L.A. is 29-16, trailing only the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the West.
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NBA Announces Rising Stars Challenge Participants
Rather than the Rising Stars Challenge being a Rookie vs. Sophomore game, the NBA will split the first- and second-year players into a U.S. Team and World Team for the second year in a row. This evens out the squads a bit (since each team has a mix of rookies and sophomores) and makes for a very interesting competition.
Today, the NBA announced which players would be participating in this year’s Rising Stars Challenge. The NBA’s assistant coaches chose the rosters, selecting four guards, four frontcourt players and two players at either position for each team.
Here are the rosters for both teams:
U.S. TEAM ROSTER
Jordan Clarkson Lakers G 6-5 194 Missouri
Rodney Hood Jazz G 6-8 206 Duke
Zach LaVine Wolves G 6-5 189 UCLA
Nerlens Noel 76ers F/C 6-11 228 Kentucky
Jahlil Okafor 76ers C 6-11 275 Duke
Jabari Parker Bucks F 6-8 250 Duke
Elfrid Payton Magic G 6-4 185 UL-Lafayette
D’Angelo Russell Lakers G 6-5 195 Ohio State
Marcus Smart Celtics G 6-4 220 Oklahoma State
Karl-Anthony Towns Wolves C 7-0 244 Kentucky
WORLD TEAM ROSTER
Bojan Bogdanovic Nets G/F 6-8 216 Fenerbahce/Croatia
Clint Capela Rockets F/C 6-10 240 Elan Chalon/Switzerland
Mario Hezonja Magic G/F 6-8 218 FC Barcelona/Croatia
Nikola Jokic Nuggets C 6-10 250 KK Mega Vizura/Serbia
Nikola Mirotic Bulls F 6-10 220 Real Madrid/Montenegro
Emmanuel Mudiay Nuggets G 6-5 200 Guangdong/Rep. of Congo
Raul Neto Jazz G 6-1 179 UCAM Murcia/Brazil
Kristaps Porzingis Knicks F/C 7-3 240 Cajasol Sevilla/Latvia
Dwight Powell Mavericks F/C 6-11 240 Stanford/Canada
Andrew Wiggins Wolves G/F 6-8 199 Kansas/Canada
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