The Los Angeles Clippers will have to exorcise their playoff demons without their two best players.
Forward Blake Griffin will miss the rest of the postseason with a left quadriceps injury and Chris Paul is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his fractured right hand, the team announced Tuesday.
Griffin missed 45 regular-season games with a partially torn left quad. He returned in time for the playoffs but aggravated the injury Monday in the Clippers’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their first-round, best-of-seven series. An MRI revealed no structural damage in Griffin’s quad, and he’s expected to be ready in time for training camp next season.
Paul also went down in Game 4, fracturing the third metacarpal in his shooting hand during the third quarter while defending Blazers guard Gerald Henderson. The All-Star point guard immediately had surgery, and his expected recovery time is anywhere between three and six weeks, according to ESPN.com.
The losses of Griffin and Paul are huge blows to the Clippers, who never have reached the Western Conference Finals. The door appeared open for L.A. after the news that Stephen Curry would miss at least two weeks with a sprained MCL, as L.A. would face the Curry-less Golden State Warriors in the second round if both teams won their first-round series.
Now, the Clippers are tied at two games apiece with a hungry Blazers team and must find a way to keep their playoff hopes alive without their two best players.
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