Clippers' Blake Griffin 'likely' to return from staph infection at some point next week

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i-3Blake Griffin is ‘likely’ to return sometime next week according to ESPN.

The Los Angeles Clippers are right in the thick of things in the grueling Western Conference playoff race, and they currently hold the 5th seed, just a half game up on the Dallas Mavericks and a half game below the Portland Trail Blazers.

Los Angeles is 7-3 in their last ten games, but they’ve been without star power forward Blake Griffin for all of those contests as he continues to recover from surgery that was needed to treat a staph infection in his right elbow. 

The original prognosis is that Griffin would return in 3-6 weeks, but Arash Markazi of ESPN.com reports that Griffin is making significant progress and could rejoin his team as early as next week.

The Clippers, specifically Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have been playing stellar basketball in Griffin’s absence, picking up impressive wins over the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls. Paul has averaged 21.2 points and 12.6 assists per game since Blake went down, and Jordan has been rebounding the ball like he’s lost his damn mind. 

Since Griffin’s been out of the lineup, Jordan has averaged 15.8 points and 19.2 rebounds per game. He had 27 boards in a game against Dallas in early February and he followed that up with 20 rebounds the very next game against Houston. Jordan has had 15+ rebounds in his last nine games, and has anchored Los Angeles’ defense in addition to rebounding like a madman. 

Jordan has been playing so well that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers stated that “we need to have an investigation” if Jordan doesn’t win Defensive Player of the Year. 

He’s clearly the defensive player of the year,” Rivers said Sunday. “If anybody else gets that award, we need to have an investigation. … What he’s doing defensively, if he was doing that offensively, he would be recognized as the MVP or one of them, but because it’s defense, no one notices.”

With all this being said, the Clippers will welcome Griffin back with open arms, as his presence arguably makes them a championship contender. He’s debatably their best player and most importantly another player they can initiate offense through, which is always welcomed in Los Angeles due to the Clippers relatively thin bench. 

Griffin is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season. 

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