Blake Griffin May Not Return from Toe Injury Until Dec. Amid Conflicting Reports

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2017

In this Friday, April 21, 2017, photo, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin shoots during practice before the start of Game 3 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, in Salt Lake City. 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. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

With Chris Paul having been dealt to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, the success of the Los Angeles Clippers' offseason will be predicated on retaining Blake Griffin. But even if the All-Star forward re-signs in Los Angeles, the Clippers may not have him for the start of the regular season. 

ESPN.com's Michael Eaves reported Griffin could be out until December with a right toe injury suffered in the Clippers' first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz. Colleague Ramona Shelburne, however, cited a source saying the Clippers believe Griffin will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Griffin, 28, missed the final four games against Utah after suffering an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe in Game 3. The Clippers lost Game 7 at home in a contest that would, though unbeknownst at the time, be the end of the Lob City era.

The Houston Rockets acquired Paul on Wednesday in a blockbuster deal that sent Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins and Kyle Wiltjer along with a first-round pick to the Clippers. L.A. made the deal at the behest of Paul, who wanted to play with James Harden and could have left for nothing in exchange via free agency.

Paul, a nine-time All-Star, spent the last six seasons with the Clippers. His arrival coincided with the most extended stretch of success in franchise history, but the Paul-Griffin-DeAndre Jordan trio never made it past the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Griffin is expected to have no shortage of suitors in free agency, all armed with maximum contracts and arguably better chances to compete for a title. A source who spoke to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical categorized the Boston Celtics as the "biggest danger" to poach Griffin. Other teams like the Miami Heat could also entice Griffin into a change of scenery.

While his toe is a concern, injury issues shouldn't come as a shock to any team pursuing Griffin. He missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury and has missed at least 15 games each of the past three seasons with various ailments.  

Related

    Doc Rivers, Lawrence Frank on Kawhi, PG and a Hectic Offseason

    Los Angeles Clippers logo
    Los Angeles Clippers

    Doc Rivers, Lawrence Frank on Kawhi, PG and a Hectic Offseason

    Tomer Azarly
    via ClutchPoints

    League Execs Think Clippers Are Better Than Lakers, but by How Much?

    Los Angeles Clippers logo
    Los Angeles Clippers

    League Execs Think Clippers Are Better Than Lakers, but by How Much?

    Kurt Helin
    via ProBasketballTalk

    Training Camps 2019: Start Dates, Schedules and Top Storylines

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Training Camps 2019: Start Dates, Schedules and Top Storylines

    Maurice Moton
    via Bleacher Report

    Clippers Say Kawhi's 'Load Management' Won't Be as Strict as It Was with Toronto

    Los Angeles Clippers logo
    Los Angeles Clippers

    Clippers Say Kawhi's 'Load Management' Won't Be as Strict as It Was with Toronto

    Brad Botkin
    via CBSSports.com