It’s been a tough year for OU stars. First quarterback Sam Bradford, now news that Blake Griffin probably won’t make his NBA debut until after Thanksgiving because of a broken knee cap.
It’s bad timing for Thunder fans. The Clippers’ only visit all season to the Ford Center is Nov. 15, a game Griffin will now miss. OKC also plays at the Clippers on Nov. 11. As a result, the only time Griffin will play againt the Thunder is March 5 in Los Angeles.
One can only hope this is a small setback at the start of Griffin’s career, not a repeat of history of another former star from a Big 12 school that was picked No. 1 overall by the Clippers whose career was plagued by injuries.
Danny Manning led Kansas to a national title but was limited to just 26 games his rookie season after the Clippers selected him No. 1 overall. It would be the first of three reconstructive knee surgeries for Manning.
Manning averaged 22.8 and 23.7 points to earn back-to-back All-Star Game honors early in his career after overcoming his first ACL surgery 20 years ago back when it was more dicey than modern day ACL procedures.
Turns out, it would be Manning’s only two All-Star Game appearancess. Hampered by knee injuries, Manning finished with a 14.0 career scoring average. Instead of leading the Clippers to new heights, Manning ended up bouncing around the league, playing for Atlanta, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Utah, Dallas and Detroit.
I was tempted to pick Tyreke Evans for Rookie of the Year in our annual predictions published on Monday.
The primary reason I considered Evans was he should get a ton of minutes and a ton of shots playing for the Kings while Griffin will share minutes with some veterans and on occasion has suffered injuries because he plays so hard.
But no one could have forecasted Griffin would suffer such a freakish injury. Hopefully, Griffin, a talented player with a great attitude and tremendous work ethic, returns sooner than doctors have estimated and he still plays in enough games that he can compete for Rookie of the Year.