Sunday, August 9, 2009
Updated: August 10, 10:07 AM ET
Griffin, Hansbrough slowed down
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Blake Griffin grabbed a microphone for a little practice working in TV. Tyler Hansbrough pulled up a chair and watched one.
There's not much else for the two rookies to do until they can get back on the court.
Griffin and Hansbrough are injured, sending the All-Americans to the sidelines and away from basketball activities after promising starts to their pro careers during summer league play.
They were in New York on Sunday along with their classmates for the rookie photo shoot, where the NBA's first-year players were photographed by Panini in the poses that will appear on their trading cards.
But while many players shot around during breaks at the Madison Square Garden training facility, Griffin and Hansbrough had to find other ways to keep themselves busy.
Griffin should be back soon. The No. 1 overall pick was told late last month to rest his strained right shoulder for three to four weeks, and neither Griffin nor the Los Angeles Clippers believe the injury will cause any long-term problems.
"It's one of those deals where it's not like a serious injury, but it needed rest to get back to 100 percent," Griffin said. "They just didn't want me to go start playing again and do something to risk it further."
Hansbrough's injury is more severe. He was wearing a large black walking boot to protect a right shin injury that could keep the Indiana Pacers' top pick out through the start of training camp. The team said on July 31 he would be out for up to two months, though Hansbrough wasn't sure what his timetable was.
The Pacers said Hansbrough was hurt last season while leading North Carolina to the NCAA championship, though he played well while appearing in all five games of the Orlando summer league.
"I felt good about it," he said. "For me it was just an opportunity to learn some of the offenses, some of the things that we like to do and run, and it kind of gave me a chance to learn some stuff besides just trying to cram it before the season."
Hansbrough didn't seem particularly concerned while discussing his health as he watched NASCAR coverage, having become a bigger fan after taking part in the festivities at the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.
But he said he usually focuses in the summer on becoming more athletic and explosive, something the 6-foot-9 forward will need to do in the NBA as he adjusts to playing further away from the basket after spending most of his college years in the low post.
Doubts about his ability to make the transition were the reason some forecasts had him going perhaps 10 picks lower than where he ended up at the 13th spot.
"The way I look at it, there's never a player out there who someone hasn't tried to point out something negative about him," Hansbrough said. "So I understand that no matter how good I get or how successful, there's always going to be people knocking you. And so I kind of block that out and not worry about it and use it in a way kind of as motivation."
There's little to doubt about Griffin. After winning college player of the year honors at Oklahoma, he averaged 19.2 points and 10.8 rebounds in the Las Vegas summer league and was chosen the league's MVP. He played the last two games with the shoulder injury after he was hurt in the Clippers' third contest.
Griffin said the injury wasn't painful but limited his range of motion, preventing him from lifting his arm much above his head. He was forced to pull out of USA Basketball's minicamp the day before it opened, but hopes to earn an invite to camp next summer.
"It's not the first time they've had something like that happen," Griffin said. "I'm not the only guy that had to sit out because of injury, but hopefully next year I'll get another chance."