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What Blake Griffin's Return Means for Chris Paul and the Clippers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin is back, now what that means going forward for the Los Angeles Clippers as they enter the playoffs is anybody’s guess.

According to ESPN.com, Griffin will resume his season on Sunday against the Washington Wizards, playing despite a tear remaining in his quad.

Griffin has missed more three months with the quad injury, a broken hand and a four-game suspension for knocking out a team staffer.

“It just wasn’t being allowed to heal,” Griffin said before practice. “So, the tear’s still there. It’s just about managing the pain and getting through this. … It’s not like a new tear or re-tearing my [quad] in different places. It wasn’t allowing the initial injury to completely heal.

“I don’t want to say misdiagnosed, but it wasn’t doing the right things, I guess? We weren’t addressing the initial problem — the main problem. So, everything I was doing was putting more stress on my [quad]. A small tear became a three-month thing because I wasn’t doing the right thing until we figured it out."

The Clippers are locked into the West’s No. 4 spot and will likely meet the injury-ravaged Grizzlies, hopefully gaining some confidence before a second-round and franchise defining showdown with Golden State.

Chris Paul has led the Clippers to a 30-14 mark in Griffin’s absence, displaying a more efficient and productive style of play, raising the question: are the Clippers better off without the former No. 1 overall pick?

The Clippers will need Griffin to channel the 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists that he averaged in the 2015 playoffs. Griffin will have to get adjusted to and accept the new alpha role that DeAndre Jordan plays on offense.

With seven games remaining, the rest of the season is about getting him back in rhythm and figuring out key role for a playoff run that will likely force them to beat the Warriors and Spurs to reach the NBA Finals.

-- Glenn Erby

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