Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
"It's less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact," Griffin said. "I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn't be playing and practicing everyday this early."
"My whole thing is that I didn't want to go into [Clippers training] camp and put myself in a worse position," he said. "It's not that my back is broken and I'm walking around with a broken back, or I'm in so much pain.
"But if I start playing basically two months earlier than everybody else and then go through all of next season and the playoffs, then I'm probably going to put myself in a bad position. I couldn't do that."
Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin was meant to go to training camp for Team USA in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Unfortunately for the American squad, Griffin will no longer be doing so, and the reason was revealed on Monday.
ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reports that Griffin withdrew from the team last week due to a small fracture in his back:
Griffin suffered the previously unreported injury during the playoffs. He's expected to make a full recovery, but not in time for USA camp— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 29, 2014
Griffin suffered from back spasms in late March, though it's unclear whether this latest ailment is related.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports analyzed what Griffin's exit would mean for Team USA:
Hawks forward Paul Millsap will be the only addition to @usabasketball, source said. USA recently lost big men Kevin Love & Blake Griffin.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 27, 2014
Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo weighed in on the situation before news of this injury broke.
"I'm disappointed he's not going to be with us," Colangelo told USA Today's Sam Amick. "It's unfortunate (because) it's been two competitions in a row (that Griffin has missed), but it sounds like a broken record because it happened recently with someone else."
After the initial announcement last week, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla feared this could be a big blow to Team USA:
Blake Griffin withdraws from USA Team. I'm not supposed to say this but USA win over Spain in Madrid on Sept. 14th gets dicier by the day.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) July 25, 2014
At least it's an encouraging sign for the Clippers that Griffin had the competitive drive to grind through the pain and perform at a high level during the postseason. The 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick averaged 23.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 13 playoff contests.
How will Team USA fare in the FIBA World Cup?
In addition to improving his all-around game over the past two years, Griffin has proven to be durable, missing just two games each season.
Therefore, L.A. shouldn't be concerned about his long-term health, and the decision to miss out on international competition will actually be beneficial considering how much intensity Griffin plays with every night he's on the court.
As for the Team USA commitment, Griffin figures to have at least a puncher's chance at being on the 2016 Olympic team. That will more than make up for his World Cup absence this time around.
Griffin's absence also stands to benefit the younger players in getting a taste of representing their country and playing on the international stage.