Last Thursday, Blake Griffin cited a desire to “dedicate all his energy” towards the upcoming NBA season as his reason for withdrawing from the U.S. men’s basketball team.
Less than a week later, it appears that the real reason for Griffin’s departure has finally come out.
The Los Angeles Clippers forward was advised by doctors to leave the team in order give a “small fracture” in his back extra time to heal, sources told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne Tuesday.
Sources told Shelburne that Griffin suffered the injury during the playoffs and that doctors advised him to take some additional recovery time by avoiding international competition this summer.
While doctors insist Griffin’s injury is minor and that he’ll fully recover for the start of the NBA season, the news of a back issue is certainly cause for concern for Clippers fans.
After all, Griffin’s career in Los Angeles began on the sidelines, as he missed the entire 2009-10 season while recovering from a stress fracture in his left knee that he suffered at Oklahoma.
The 25-year-old has missed just four regular season games over the last two seasons, though, so it’s likely a wise decision to keep him away from USA basketball this summer to ensure his health in the fall.
Griffin is one of several NBA stars who have withdrawn from Team USA’s roster, the most notable being free agent Kevin Love, who cited his uncertain status amid swirling trade rumors as his reason for opting out.
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