Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin returned to practice Saturday, moving closer to a return from thigh and hand injuries.
Griffin has missed the past 41 games and once he’s fit must still serve a four-game ban for the January incident in which he broke his right hand punching Clippers equipment staffer Matias Testi.
Griffin, who was sidelined by a quadriceps injury at the time, needed surgery, and his suspension won’t start until he is medically cleared to play.
“I don’t know if one practice is enough to activate him,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We’ve got to activate him when we think he’s ready to play.”
The Clippers would like to activate Griffin as soon as possible to get him some playing time prior to the start of the playoffs.
But just having him practising with the team has its own benefits.
“We can start, kind of, putting our playoff stuff in,” Rivers said. “Now, even if he doesn’t play right away, at least we can work on it. That’ll help us.”
At this point, just having Griffin competing and contributing when the post-season begins next month is the goal.
“I don’t care if it’s zero (regular-season games), to be honest, now, as long as he’s playing to start the playoffs,” Rivers said. “Is that an ideal way of going into a playoff series? No, but I’d rather have him than not.”