The NBA playoffs are being ruined by injuries.
First it was Utah big man Rudy Gobert going down with a left knee injury that has kept him out of the Jazz’s first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Then the Chicago Bulls announced that point guard Rajon Rondo had a thumb injury that would put a halt to his renaissance story against the Boston Celtics.
But the worst one yet came on Saturday morning, when the Clippers announced that forward Blake Griffin is out for the entire postseason with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. The five-time All-Star suffered the injury in Friday night’s game against the Jazz that gave the Clippers a 2-1 series lead.
And just like that, with the Clippers already facing so much scrutiny because Griffin, point guard Chris Paul and shooting guard J.J. Redick are set to be free agents this summer, their hopes of shocking the basketball world by winning a title with this core are dashed.
It was a year ago that Griffin and Paul both suffered season-ending injuries four games into a first-round playoff series against Portland. Then and now, the Clippers had a wave of momentum at the right time only to see it all come to a stunning end.
The Clippers were rolling when it mattered most, having survived significant regular season injuries to Griffin (right knee surgery cost him 18 games) and Paul (a thumb injury sidelined him for five weeks) to win 11 of their last 13 regular season games and finish fourth in the loaded Western Conference (51-31). It was enough to leave Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers feeling good about the idea that maybe, just maybe, this was their year. What’s more, it was enough to remind him why he didn’t have any desire to break up this talented bunch.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Sam Amick