Blake Griffin '50-50' to play
MINNEAPOLIS -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin went through shootaround with the team Monday morning after missing most of Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets, and coach Doc Rivers said Griffin is "50-50" to play in Monday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"The trainers and Blake will [make the final decision], but if he does play and I don't like the way he's moving, that's when I get involved," Rivers said. "I think it's 50-50."
Griffin is officially being listed as a game-time decision. He was listed as day to day after leaving Saturday's game.
He departed the game with 5:48 left in the first quarter, grabbing his lower back as he walked off the court and continuing to hold it as he bit his jersey in the Clippers' huddle during a timeout. He then limped off the court with Clippers trainer Jasen Powell and went to the locker room.
"It has improved since Saturday, that's for sure," Griffin said. "I still wouldn't say 100 percent. ... I've been dealing with it off and on. Most of the time it's manageable, but I felt like Saturday wasn't really manageable. I got bumped, but it wasn't a hard bump or anything. It was a bump. I feel like if it hadn't happened there it would have happened the next time I was in the lane. I don't really think it was the force."
Griffin has been dealing with hip issues recently, and Rivers believes that led to the back injury.
"It was his hip yesterday; it had nothing do with his back, but I think that's what triggered it," Rivers said Saturday. "Whatever was going on before, that's what triggered the back injury.
"It scared the hell out of me because I've had that reaction myself. That's a back injury. They don't think it's awful, but it's a back injury."
Rivers had said he likely will be more cautious with Griffin with just eight games left in the regular season but would wait to talk to Powell first.
"Clearly, if it's something where [Powell] says, 'Hey, it's your call,' then that means no," Rivers said. "I mean if it's my call, then no. I want it to be the trainer's call where he knows he can play. If it gets to that, I would rest Blake, Chris [Paul] or Jamal [Crawford]."
After dealing with injuries in the playoffs over the past two seasons, Griffin said he will be cautious as well.
"This part of the season is important obviously as far as positioning and everything else, but the last two seasons in the playoffs I've been banged up and haven't been 100 percent and I don't want it to be that way this year," he said. "I'm trying to be smart about it, trying to be proactive and not do anything to prolong the healing process."
Along with DeAndre Jordan, Griffin is one of only two players on the Clippers to start all 74 games this season. He is in the midst of a career year, averaging 24.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
The Clippers are already playing without J.J. Redick, who has missed the past 23 games with a bulging disk in his lower back, and Danny Granger, who was sent home for the final three games of this road trip with a strained left hamstring.
Rivers said he spoke to Glen "Big Baby" Davis after sending him back to the locker room early in the second quarter of Saturday's game and keeping him there for disciplinary issues.
"It wasn't a big deal," Rivers said. "I just thought in that game he was not right for us. The talk we had was 30 seconds. It wasn't a long talk."