SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is out for the remainder of the playoffs after injuring his big toe during Friday night’s win against the Utah Jazz.
The team announced Saturday that the five-time All-Star was diagnosed with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. Griffin left Game 3 with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a transition layup. He had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes, and the team said at the time the injury was a bruised toe. X-rays at the arena were negative, but he was re-evaluated after the game.
Griffin averaged 25 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the first two games.
His injury marks another playoff blow to a franchise that has dealt with a series of bad luck and internal turmoil in recent years.
Griffin and point guard Chris Paul were lost to injuries last year, and the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against Houston in 2015.
During the 2014 playoffs, voice recordings of then-owner Donald Sterling making racist comments surfaced, leading to him being banned by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who forced the sale of the team.
The Clippers were up 2-0 in 2013 before losing to Memphis in six games after Griffin stepped on teammate Lamar Odom and injured his ankle.
Paul said after the latest game that losing Griffin would keep the team from running offense through the post as much, where other players cut and move off of the 6-foot-10, 250-pounder. Paul called Griffin a “dynamic player” who is one of the best passers on the roster.
“Just his leadership, it’s just a different feeling when he’s on the court,” Paul said Friday night.
The Clippers rallied for a 111-106 victory, with Paul scoring a season-high 34 points and the offense running through pick-and-roll between Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
The Clippers have been without injured backup guard Austin Rivers (strained left hamstring) for the first three games of the playoffs.
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