As if the news on Chris Paul's fractured hand wasn't bad enough, the Clippers will also lose co-star Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs after he reinjured his left quad in Game 4 against the Blazers. The team announced that Griffin will not return during postseason play even though an MRI revealed no additional structural damage.
Griffin originally suffered the quad injury on Christmas Day against the Lakers and had only recently returned to the lineup despite it not fully healing. He reaggravated the issue sometime in the third quarter of Game 4 against the Blazers after Paul fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand. Though Griffin also broke his hand in an altercation with the team's assistant equipment manager, it was actually the quad issue that caused him to miss half the season.
Griffin returned to the lineup on April 3 after missing 37 games due to the quad injury and an additional four as a suspension for punching the team's assistant equipment manager. He played limited minutes in five of Los Angeles' final seven regular-season games, then jumped to more than 31 minutes per contest in each of the first three playoff games against the Blazers. He looked like his old self in Game 1 with 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, but was much less effective in Games 2 and 3.
The Clippers are still tied at two in their series against the Blazers with two of the last three games at home, but they must somehow survive without their two superstars. Austin Rivers and Jeff Green are the most likely candidates to step in for Paul and Griffin, though Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce will also see additional time. DeAndre Jordan must play above his means inside and J.J. Redick has to carry the perimeter scoring load while playing through a heel injury himself.
It remains to be seen if Game 4 is the last time the Clippers' Paul/Griffin/Jordan core shares the court together. Coach Doc Rivers has been open about the possibility that the team's core will feel stale if they cannot at least reach the conference finals. That seems exceedingly unlikely now, even with the Stephen Curry-less Warriors potentially waiting in the next round should Los Angeles defeat Portland.