LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin is about to add patience to his repertoire of basketball skills while his broken left kneecap heals.
It's a vital quality for somebody trying to turn around the Los Angeles Clippers.
The NBA's No. 1 overall draft pick will be out for up to six weeks with the stress fracture, likely delaying his debut until mid-December — and creating one more reason to believe there's a curse on this star-crossed franchise.
"It's disappointing, especially when it happened, but I'm not going to feel sorry for myself," Griffin said Tuesday at the club's Playa Vista training complex. "Everybody plays with a certain amount of pain, but it is a fine line, because you do want to take care of your body and make it easier on yourself."
Griffin watched the Clippers' 99-92 season-opening loss the Lakers on Tuesday night from behind the bench in a three-piece suit and blue tie, waving to fans shouting encouragement from the stands. The former Oklahoma star won't be allowed back into practice until his fracture has healed in several weeks.
Griffin wore shorts and no knee protection while watching the Clippers' morning shootaround. He will undergo bone stimulation and special blood treatments that will limit his activities for at least a month, and he plans to swim for exercise.
Coach Mike Dunleavy believes the process will be frustrating, but hopefully instructive for a power forward whose relentless work ethic sometimes leads him to rush his recovery time and even play through pain unnecessarily.
"He needs to be more honest with his body and with our medical personnel," Dunleavy said. "There are times when he's telling us he's fine, he's good, and he's feeling some pain. ... He understands better the potential consequences now. Give us the information, and we'll decipher it and figure out what you should play through, but I think he understands now."
Griffin was hurt during a preseason game last Friday, wincing in pain as he came down from a dunk late in the third quarter. He claimed as recently as Monday afternoon that he would play through the discomfort, but an MRI revealed the stress fracture Monday.
"He could play on it, but it won't get better," Dunleavy said. "Once that became apparent, there was no question: Let's shut it down. Him playing at a lesser level isn't going to do us much good."
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