Blake Griffin is doing something he couldn’t do nine days ago; he’s moving his right elbow.
Griffin wore an arm brace Wednesday that looked straight out of the Hollywood wardrobe of armor worn by Iron Man, except this one is black. Griffin said his doctor told him that his right elbow looks good following last week’s surgery to remove a staph infection.
"Got some good news. Everything is either on track or looking better than it was," Griffin said. "Still don’t really know a great timetable but happy with how it feels."
Griffin had his elbow drained in New York when the team was on its eight-game roadtrip. He subsequently went to the hospital in Oklahoma City, where it was discovered he had a staph infection. The surgery was performed in Los Angeles nine days ago.
Griffin said he believes the infection is completely gone, courtesy of the surgery. A staph infection can be quite dangerous, especially if it goes undetected.
"Obviously you don’t want it to spread," Griffin said. "I was in good hands and was taken care of. I wouldn’t say (I was) nervous. It was definitely something we wanted to take care of right away."
The 25-year-old Griffin is not able to do any work since he is not allowed to sweat, something he must do to keep the elbow dry to aid in healing. He said he’s been watching television, movies and he got out of the house for dinner on Thursday and Sunday.
Griffin has missed three games and could miss an estimated 3-5 more weeks. He would miss approximately nine more games if he needs three more weeks to get healthy.
"It’s never a position I want to put my teammates in. I feel bad for that," Griffin said. "There’s not a lot I can do. I don’t want to do anything worse and make it longer. It’s the hand we’ve been dealt. A lot of teams have had setbacks like this. We’ve got to be better."
Asked if he had a best-case scenario in mind for his return, Griffin said "I’m not going to. That would be foolish of me."
Griffin seemed in good spirits, as he did on Feb. 11 when he sat with teammates on the bench, in the Clippers’ 110-95 win over Houston at Staples Center.
"(It) helps a lot," Griffin said. "You hate not being out there no matter what. When you have success like that and we play the way we did, that definitely helps."
Griffin was selected an All-Star Game starter by fans, but he had to withdraw from the game. He said he didn’t watch it.
Griffin initially knew his elbow was hurting, but he didn’t know the cause and wasn’t leery after getting his elbow drained in New York.
"… I’ve gotten my elbow drained 20 times in my life and never had a problem," Griffin said. "I didn’t think a lot of it. Thursday before the Cleveland game was when it was giving me a lot of problems. After the game in Cleveland, I couldn’t extend my arm without pain. I didn’t think I was going to play in Toronto. Over that 24-hour span, that’s when I really knew that something was wrong."
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Once the staph infection was detected, the surgery happened the following day.
Griffin’s brace was locked so he couldn’t move his elbow until Tuesday. Bandages were removed as well, so Griffin said he felt a "little freedom."
He said he isn’t sure what the next step is except that on Feb. 24, he’ll have the stitches removed.
The Clippers (35-19) are sixth in the Western Conference, 8.5 games behind Golden State. Griffin is expected back before the playoffs. Rest, perhaps, for the star power forward — who plays in a physical matchup each game — isn’t such a bad thing before the postseason.
"I hope so. In the back of my mind, I never want to miss time," Griffin said. "(You’re) missing rhythm but hopefully, this gives me enough time by the time I get back (I’ll) get that rhythm back and be healthy going into the playoffs."