Griffin tears cartilage in left knee, no Olympics

BY foxsports • July 12, 2012

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Blake Griffin will have surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and the U.S. forward will miss the Olympics.


Griffin returned to Los Angeles on
Thursday for further evaluation after reporting discomfort in the same
knee that bothered him in the playoffs following Wednesday's practice.
The Clippers said he will require arthroscopic surgery and should be
ready for training camp.


"We're relieved that this does not
affect Blake's ability to be ready in time for training camp," Clippers
coach Vinny Del Negro said in a statement. "Missing out on the Olympic
experience will be tough for him to take. 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."


USA Basketball officials said following
their 113-59 victory over the Dominican Republic on Thursday night that
they hadn't been told Griffin would be forced to pull out. Once he does,
the Americans will be able to replace him on their 12-man roster,
likely with Anthony Davis.


Davis, the national college player of
the year, was added to the roster for the exhibition game and scored
nine points in 10 minutes against the Dominicans, who were led by his
college coach, John Calipari of national champion Kentucky.


The Americans love Davis' rebounding
and shot blocking, but not his youth. Griffin is older and stronger, and
coach Mike Krzyzewski noted he's played against Spain center Pau Gasol
in the NBA.


"Blake is a proven commodity and if we
don't have him, it's a big loss," Krzyzewski said. "He was playing
really well for us."


The Clippers, who just signed Griffin
to a 5-year, $95 million extension, said the All-Star forward had an MRI
that revealed a meniscus tear. He will see another specialist Sunday
and surgery is expected to be scheduled soon.


Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in this
year's NBA draft, is a team alternate after failing to make the 12-man
roster. He had sprained his ankle in a workout with the New Orleans
Hornets and wasn't able to scrimmage in the first two days of camp
before the Americans picked their roster, robbing him of any chance to
grab a spot.


But USA Basketball had asked him to
stick around on the select team of young players that was training
against the Americans, in case an injury popped up. He was in Los
Angeles on Wednesday for the ESPY Awards, but traveled back to Las Vegas
on Thursday.


And if he sticks with the Americans,
Calipari will have to alter his summer plans after the Dominicans
finished one win short of qualifying for the Olympics.


"If he's on the team and he makes that
trip then I'm probably going to have to make a trip to London, anyway,"
Calipari said.


Davis' defensive talents would be a
welcome addition on a U.S. team that has New York's Tyson Chandler as
its only remaining center. Players can be replaced on the roster in case
of injury any time up to 48 hours before the start of the Olympics.


Griffin was hurt during the playoffs
and struggled through the pain before the Clippers were ousted in the
second round by San Antonio. After taking a couple of weeks off, he was
back on the court and had been playing well for the Americans, who
planned to use him at center.


"Hopefully he gets back quick and has a
great season next year because he deserves it," U.S. teammate Kevin
Durant said. "You know he played so hard and he's all about the team and
we're going to string Anthony along and hopefully he comes in and fills
a void."


The Americans lost two centers, Dwight
Howard and Chris Bosh, to injuries before camp, along with Derrick Rose
and Dwyane Wade. Chris Paul, Griffin's Clippers teammate, sprained his
right thumb on the first day of camp and has been sitting out
scrimmages.


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