Blake Griffin out 4-6 weeks after breaking bone throwing punch

ByMike Wells ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- Blake Griffin has apologized for a weekend incident that has left the Los Angeles Clippers without their star forward for an additional four to six weeks.

Hours after the team confirmed that Griffin broke a bone in his right hand while throwing a punch in Toronto, Griffin expressed regret for his actions in a tweet Tuesday night.

Sources previously told ESPN's Michael Eaves that Griffin hit Matias Testi, the Clippers' assistant equipment manager, at the restaurant Sotto Sotto on Saturday night in Toronto.

The Clippers were in Toronto as part of a five-game road trip. They played the Raptors the day after the incident, losing 112-94.

Sources told Eaves that Griffin and Testi were at a restaurant when they traded insults and got into an argument. Griffin hit Testi, who then left the restaurant and went outside. Griffin followed him outside and hit him again. Testi had visible injuries to his face, sources told Eaves.

Both Griffin and Testi were sent home from the road trip after the incident. The two are good friends and had vacationed together, sources said.

Meeting with reporters earlier Tuesday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers called the incident "frustrating" and a "distraction" for a team that has clawed its way back in the competitive Western Conference.

"You don't want it to happen to anyone, and you obviously don't want it to happen during the season or even when the season is not going on," he said. "This type of stuff shouldn't happen, but it did, and it's real life, and you have to deal with real life sometimes in our make-believe world."

In a statement, the Clippers said the conduct "has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team." They said an investigation is ongoing and being done with assistance from the NBA.

A source told Eaves that the National Basketball Players Association is also investigating the incident.

The Clippers said Griffin had X-rays on the hand Monday in Los Angeles and underwent a procedure to repair "a spiral fracture of the fourth metacarpal" Tuesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. Steve Shin.

"I'm not satisfied with anything," Rivers said. "I'm talking about a non-basketball issue right now. No, I'm not satisfied with anything right now. ... For them, we have a responsibility once we decide to play in this league to conduct ourselves in a certain way, and that's something we talked to them about [Monday]. We represent the Clippers, and we have to continue to do that. Everything that happens, obviously, you try to turn into a teaching lesson for your players."

Griffin has been out with a quadriceps injury, which he suffered in the Clippers' Christmas Day win over theLos Angeles Lakers,but he had hoped to return to the lineup during this road trip. Rivers said he believes the additional four-to-six-week timetable for the hand injury is unrealistic.

"I always say four to six weeks for a broken hand is unrealistic," he said. "I'll tell you that, just my opinion. We don't talk about injuries for guys who aren't playing. We just don't."

The Clippers arein fourth place in the Western Conference. A 91-89 win over the Pacers on Tuesday makes them 12-3 in Griffin's absence.

"We have to figure it out [in Griffin's absence] because we're in a tough conference, and we've kind of clawed our way up to the spot that we're at now, and now we have to keep clawing," Rivers said before the game.

Griffin's teammates also said he will be missed on the court, but they avoided directly addressing the punch and surrounding circumstances.

"It's tough; I don't know much about it," guard Chris Paul said after Tuesday's win. "For me, I have to lead this team.

"We're all like family. That's how we're going to deal with this, like family. At the end of the day, we control what we can control. We still have a job to do."

Guard J.J. Redick concurred.

"We want him back on the court, but in terms of the situation, I have no take on it," Redick said. "He's a very important part to what we do here."

Griffin's latest injury means he will miss the All-Star Game on Feb. 14 in Toronto, where he could have been picked as a reserve.

In November 2014, Griffin was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery after allegedly getting into an altercation with a man at a Las Vegas nightclub. According to reports at the time of the incident, Griffin was upset by camera flashes in his face and grabbed the man's phone. Prosecutors dropped the case in March of last year, saying they couldn't prove the allegations.

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