Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said that there is "no timetable" for superstar forward Blake Griffin’s return from surgery for a staph infection in his elbow.
"I don’t know," Rivers said before Sunday’s 106-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors. "Like I said before, he has one of those injuries where there’s no timetable. It’s not like a sprained ankle where you know the swelling is down and then you can play. This is an infection. This is serious stuff, so there’s no timetable."
Rivers said Griffin wouldn’t play in Sunday’s game against the Warriors or Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.
Griffin started running and doing a little shooting last week, according to Rivers, but he is still limited. After the game, Rivers jokingly predicted the timetable could be anywhere from
"four days" to "a month," stating that he’s never dealt with as unpredictable of an injury as this one.
"We can’t forget he had his arm in a cast for two weeks," Rivers said. "And that’s atrophy and everything else. I think it’s really close; I do. But, I don’t want to say that and have him not come back for a month because it could be four days, it could be a month. I’ve never seen this, and I don’t know the answer. As a coach, it’s not one of those things you can plan for."
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Once Griffin is cleared to play, however, Rivers said he’ll give him a go, even if he hasn’t practiced at that time.
"A guy at his level, if they say he can play, he’ll play whether we practice or not," Rivers said. "I always prefer that we have a practice, but he doesn’t have that type of injury. Once he’s cleared and can play, it’s not to test it out. It’s more because they gave him clearance because of the infection."
The Clippers are 7-5 without Griffin this season.
They have a grueling schedule the rest of the week, traveling to face the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, before heading back to L.A. to play the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
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Rivers offered a somber update on Jamal Crawford’s eventual return from a bruised right calf, saying, "That’s probably further away than Blake [Griffin], would be my guess. I think Blake is closer than Jamal, but I don’t know that as a fact. Just visually watching the two, that would be my guess."
Crawford has dealt with calf issues in the past, so the Clippers want to proceed with caution and not rush him back and risk injuring it further.
"It’s the same calf injury, I think, the right leg," Rivers said. "It matters. It’s a calf injury and you just can’t take those things lightly."