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Pacific Notes: Griffin, Price, Watson, Bryant

Blake Griffin‘s injured leg, not his broken right hand, is delaying his return to the court, according to Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Earlier this month, Clippers coach Doc Rivers claimed Griffin was “really close” to playing again, but that timetable has been pushed to the end of March. Griffin hasn’t appeared in a game since partially tearing a tendon in his left quad on Christmas Day. Woike said the tendon hasn’t responded the way team officials hoped when Griffin’s workouts were amped up.

Griffin’s hand, which he fractured in a January 23rd fight with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi, has healed enough to allow him to practice, Woike notes. Once he is cleared for game action, Griffin still faces a four-game team-imposed suspension for that altercation.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns point guard Ronnie Price is having one of his best NBA seasons at age 32, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Price had started 10 straight games before Brandon Knight was healthy enough to return to the starting lineup Saturday. He averaged 10.1 points and 3.4 assists with the starting unit while shooting 35% from 3-point range. After being with six teams in 11 years and a different team for each of the past five seasons, Price will be a free agent again this summer. “Ronnie is the ultimate pro,” said interim coach Earl Watson. “He’s the type of guy you always want on your team because he’s going to lift up the locker room, make guys practice and play hard and he’s a future coach. It’s great for the young guys to see a veteran with everything he’s fought in his career to continue to fight and get better late in his career.”
  • Watson has made an impression on his players during his brief time as coach, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Two Suns players told Spears the team consensus is they would like to see Watson brought back next season. He took over for Jeff Hornacek on February 1st.
  • Because the Lakers dropped out of the playoff race early, Kobe Bryant has been able to relax and enjoy his final season, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register“I love the process,” Bryant said. “I love figuring that stuff out. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be playing for 20 years. It’s just a different emotion where you get a chance to kind of step back and appreciate the competitors versus trying to break them down and pick them apart.”

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