Injury rules Blake Griffin out of Olympic Games
Blake Griffin will miss the London Olympics after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee.
The Los Angeles Clippers star was sent from the US basketball team’s training camp in Las Vegas to Los Angeles for tests and is set to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage.
“Missing out on the Olympic experience will be tough for him to take,” said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. “I know how dedicated he was to doing that. We’re glad we can get this fixed now and take advantage of the available time for him to fully recover.”
The move adds another major injury setback to an American squad of NBA stars already hurt by injuries to Orlando centre Dwight Howard, Miami stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and Chicago’s 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose.
Anthony Davis, the college star who was selected by New Orleans with the first overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, was called back to the US Olympic training camp after having been cut last weekend and named a US team alternate.
Griffin, who had originally injured the knee in the first round of the NBA play-offs, apparently aggravated it on Wednesday in a practice session.
The US squad was already struggling with a lack of height before the injury to Griffin, one of its taller playmakers, who averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds a game last season.
He also missed what should have been his rookie season in the NBA with a serious knee injury. Davis, a teen star who helped the University of Kentucky win the US college crown this year, suffered a left ankle injury during his first workout for the Hornets after the draft, but is now healthy and ready to play for the Americans.
He was picked with an eye to a possible change in Olympic basketball to a 23-and-under event, much the way Olympic football is staged. Davis would be 23 at the time of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and a likely US team leader.
But while they might feel the loss of Griffin in the power stakes, the US line-up is not short of a powerful presence.
It is led by Miami star LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers playmaker Kobe Bryant, NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City team-mates Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and Chris Paul of the Clippers.
They showed their class with an easy 113-59 exhibition win over the Dominican Republic. Durant led the way as he scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Andre Iguodala added 18 points and Carmelo Anthony scored 13 for the US as they showed they will still be the ones to beat at the Games.