Doc Rivers expects Blake Griffin to return before the playoffs

BY Andrew Lynch • March 22, 2016

It's been almost three months since Blake Griffin last took the court for the Los Angeles Clippers. In that time, the team has managed to cruise through some tough competition, going 26-13 and more or less securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

Still, this team isn't complete without its All-Star power forward, and any hope of advancing to the conference finals is more or less extinguished if Griffin can't play.

On that front, there's reportedly some good news for the Clippers. On Tuesday, coach Doc Rivers told reporters that he expects Griffin to return before the playoffs -- but he's not quite sure when Griffin will be back:

Via the Clippers' official site:

Rivers said he remains confident Griffin will be back before the playoffs.

“I can’t say that with 100 percent certainty, but I do feel like he’ll be back,” Rivers said. “I’m just not sure when.”

Rivers said Griffin’s hand injury is fine now, and he wishes Griffin could play to be able to test out his hand and have confidence in it when he does return to the court.

Rivers, who stopped short of laying out a precise timetable for Griffin's return, is absolutely right that Griffin needs time to test his hand. You'll probably recall Griffin injured the appendage when he punched a team employee in the face in Toronto back in December.

More importantly, the Clippers need to figure out how best to use Griffin. Since his injury, L.A. is two points better per game on offense, largely because the team is better from 3-point range. They're making more 3s, and they're taking more shots from deep per game as well.

With Griffin back, the Clippers will be better on the inside, and their playmaking will improve, as well. But to take down the Warriors, they'll need to go toe-to-toe from the 3-point line. If Griffin is working his way back into form at the same time, the Clippers are going to struggle. And if the Clippers struggle, there could be big questions to answer in Los Angeles this summer.



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