Friday, May 11, 2012
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin start
ESPN.com news services
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, who suffered hip flexor and finger injuries during Wednesday's Game 5 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, played Friday in Game 6.
In his news conference prior to the game, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro confirmed the still-sore Paul would start.
Western Conference Playoffs
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All-Star forward Blake Griffin was listed as a game-time call for Friday with a sprained left knee, but also started.
The Clippers planned to be cautious with both players, possibly limiting their minutes with the goal of keeping them healthy enough to suit up for their next game Sunday -- either Game 7 against the Grizzlies or Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.
"We'll see how they do when they get out there," Del Negro said. "I'm sure they will be a little bit (limited)."
Griffin originally went down after a hard foul from Grizzlies center Marc Gasol with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter of Game 5. Griffin lay on the floor for a few moments, grasping his left knee while surrounded by his teammates, coaches and team trainers.
"It was just kind of a weird play," Griffin said after the game. "My foot got caught under me, and I kind of came down wrong. It was scary at first."
Griffin stayed in the game to shoot his free throws and for the remainder of the quarter before being treated on the bench at the start of the fourth quarter.
"Our chiropractor did some stuff and it felt a little better, but then as I was out there more, I don't want to say it got worse and worse, but it started to stiffen up," Griffin said. "The good thing is there's not much swelling."
Griffin checked back into the game at the 8:56 mark of the fourth quarter and was able to play the rest of the game until the closing seconds. He finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes.
In October 2009, Griffin broke his patella on the same knee and was lost for the 2009-10 season. He described this incident as a different sensation, although one that felt serious when he landed.
"I'd never felt that before," Griffin said. "The pain scares you the most, not because it hurts, but because you don't know what's wrong."
Paul jammed the middle finger on his right hand in the first quarter before straining his right hip flexor in the fourth.
"I felt a little sharp pain in my leg," Paul said. "I'll be all right."
Paul held his midsection for several possessions in the final minutes of the game before checking out with 1:24 remaining and the Clippers trailing by eight.
"I was trying to go, but I couldn't," Paul said. "I wanted to, tried to."
The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Pedro Moura, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz and The Associated Press was used in this report.