5:12pm: Rivers told reporters that expectations of Griffin returning to game action in four to six weeks were unrealistic, Woike tweets. The coach/executive did not provide a timetable that he felt was more appropriate for the power forward to make his return.
3:04pm: It’ll take approximately four to six weeks for Griffin to recover, the team confirmed via press release, adding that he suffered the broken hand Saturday and had surgery today. The statement, co-signed by owner Steve Ballmer and coach/executive Doc Rivers, didn’t mince words.
“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who are as a team,” the statement reads. “We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”
1:51pm: Griffin is at least four to six weeks away from returning, two sources tell USA Today’s Sam Amick. The equipment manager whom Griffin reportedly hit, Mathias Testi, has been a close friend of the power forward for years, Amick writes.
1:23pm: The hand is indeed broken, and the early timetable for his recovery is four to six weeks, sources tell Woike (Twitter link).
10:03am: Griffin was involved in an off-court incident with a Clippers staff member, a source told Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Woike doesn’t say whether that caused the injury, though Stein and Shelburne wrote in their story that the fracture happened in an “undisclosed team-related incident.”
7:58am: Blake Griffin is expected to remain out for “a matter of weeks, as opposed to days” after suffering what is suspected to be a fracture in his right (shooting) hand, report Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Griffin had previously been expected to return to game action tonight from the quadriceps injury that had kept him out the past month, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times said to Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk in a recent podcast. It’s unclear whether it’s the team that suspects the fracture, and, according to Stein and Shelburne, the Clippers are still trying to determine the severity of the injury, but a broken shooting hand would almost certainly sideline the star power forward for a significant length of time.
The Clippers wouldn’t have the ability to apply for a disabled player exception, since the deadline to do so passed earlier this month, and their injuries aren’t widespread enough to warrant a hardship exception for a 16th roster spot. The team has gone 11-3 since Griffin last played, on Christmas, but nine of those wins have come against teams with losing records, as Stein and Shelburne point out.
A continued absence of Griffin for the long term would be a massive blow to the Clippers, who sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. They traded fellow power forward Josh Smith to the Rockets last week but signed big man Jeff Ayres to a 10-day contract, filling the roster spot that the swap opened. The team is otherwise thin up front, with DeAndre Jordan, Cole Aldrich, the undersized Luc Mbah a Moute and Paul Pierce, and rookie Branden Dawson the only other healthy bigs.