Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his left quadriceps tendon and Chris Paul had right hand surgery Tuesday, leaving the stunned Los Angeles Clippers without their top two players for the remainder of their first-round series of the NBA Playoffs against Portland.
The team said Griffin had an MRI that revealed no further structural damage to the quad that he originally injured in a game on Dec. 25. He missed 41 games and an additional four as punishment for punching the team’s assistant equipment manager, returning on April 3. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. Griffin wasn’t made available to reporters.
“You feel bad for Chris, you feel bad for Blake,” said guard J.J. Redick, who is dealing with his own nagging left heel injury.
Paul had surgery to repair a hand fracture sustained in the third quarter of Monday night’s 98-84 loss in Game 4 that allowed Portland to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2. He appeared to catch his hand on Gerald Henderson’s jersey.
“C.P. is a reacher. He probably has the best hands in the league. At that time it got caught in the wrong place,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s amazing how things change for you.”
Griffin averaged 15.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists, while Paul averaged 23.8 points, 7.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the series.
Game 5 is Wednesday at Staples Center.
“We still have home court. No one has won a road game yet in this series,” Rivers said. “Now we have to find a way of winning tomorrow and that’s as far as we can think right now. My job with the guys is to make sure that they’re ready and focused. It’s easy when you have the injuries we have to think all kinds of other stuff.”
Rivers had not yet decided who will start in place of Griffin and Paul.
“We’ve had 10 different lineups on the board,” he said. “Most likely it will be a pretty big lineup.”
The Clippers are 25-21 in regular-season games and 1-1 in the playoffs without Paul, who missed two games against Houston in last year’s Western Conference semifinals.