Blake Griffin will return to game action before the 2016 NBA Playoffs. The Clippers announced that their star forward is medically cleared to play following hand and quad injuries and will officially come back once he serves a four-game suspension for punching assistant equipment manager Matias Testi. He is eligible to return to the court on April 3 against the Wizards.
Griffin last played on Dec. 25, missing 41 games up to this point. He originally sat out because of a partially torn left quad, but also fractured his right hand when he punched Testi in the face following a verbal altercation in Toronto on Jan. 23. The team suspended him four games for the incident and will withhold his game check for a fifth game. Griffin returned to practice on Saturday.
Los Angeles has hung in surprisingly well since Griffin's injury, though they have slipped of late. They have a record of 27-14 without Griffin after beginning the season 17-13 with him. In Griffin's absence, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick have all stepped up their games. The Clippers have also played lineups with four three-point shooters, providing more space for their three remaining stars to attack and score. Los Angeles is firmly the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and is unlikely to move up or down from that spot.
Prior to the injury, Griffin was averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and five assists per game on just under 51 percent shooting.