Clippers coach Doc Rivers did not have an update on Griffin’s condition but said Griffin’s spirits were down after the game. He said Griffin will be further evaluated Tuesday and that the Clippers were hoping for the best.
“It didn’t look good,” Rivers said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Blake Griffin injured his left knee late in the fourth quarter when he went after a loose ball in the paint along with teammate Austin Rivers and the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball.
Griffin became tangled with Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and Clippers guard Austin Rivers beneath the Lakers’ basket as the scrum dived for a loose ball with 4:43 remaining in regulation. The collision didn’t result in a foul call. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. picked up the loose ball and scored on a layup while getting fouled by Austin Rivers.
“You could see right when it happened,” Doc Rivers said. “Lonzo was just trying to make a play, but he went in. Usually when you go in like that, that hard … they call it.”
Griffin remained in the game on the ensuing Clippers possession, during which he missed a 10-foot hook shot. He ultimately checked out of the game and retreated to the Clippers’ locker room following a layup by Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and a Clippers timeout.
Griffin left the locker room without speaking to reporters.
“I knew immediately, I thought,” Doc Rivers said. “But then Blake said he was OK. I just saw his leg go in, and then when they switched on back-to-back plays, he couldn’t move so we had to get him out of the game.”
The Clippers have been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks. They lost their starting point guard, Milos Teodosic, to a left foot injury during the third game of the season. His counterpart in the backcourt, Patrick Beverley, was lost for the season last week after undergoing microfracture surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Forward Danilo Gallinari missed his 10th consecutive game with a strained left gluteus maximus.
Griffin, who signed a new five-year, $173 million contract during the offseason, has been beset by injuries during his eight seasons in the NBA. Over the previous three seasons, he has played in 67, 35 and 61 games, respectively. Most recently, he was forced out of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series when he hurt the plantar of his big right toe in Game 3 after missing 18 games during the regular season following arthroscopic surgery to his right knee.
Before he played his first regular-season game as a professional, Griffin broke his left kneecap during the 2009 preseason. In the summer of 2012 while training with Team USA, he tore his medial meniscus in the same knee.
The Clippers, 8-11 after winning their third consecutive game, next play on Thursday against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. If Griffin doesn’t take the floor, center DeAndre Jordan will be the only remaining member of the team’s opening night starting lineup.