Blake Griffin is expected to miss four to six weeks due to a staph infection in his right elbow, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Griffin will undergo surgery on Monday to drain the elbow. Shelburne adds that he could return sooner than four weeks but in typical cases of staph infections, it’s best to be conservative (Twitter link).
Griffin’s injury leaves the Clippers with a clear void in the frontcourt. The power forward was playing 35.3 minutes per game while scoring 22.5 points per game. The Clippers have an experienced backup big man in Spencer Hawes, whom the team spent the valuable full mid-level exception on last offseason. Hawes has played some minutes at the four spot but he may be an awkward fit next to center DeAndre Jordan for extended periods of time.
The Clippers are only six games ahead of the Pelicans, who currently reside in ninth place in the Western Conference. With the competitiveness of the conference, Los Angeles could be forced to make some sort of move. The Clippers have two open roster spots but are less than $1.2MM shy of their $80.829MM hard cap. The team was reportedly interested in obtaining a wing player, with Wilson Chandler being named as a possibility. With the news of Griffin’s injury and the Clippers’ lack of assets outside the team’s core, the franchise could switch its focus to finding a big man.