The latest injury to Team USA member, Blake Griffin, surely has raised many questions on whether or not the critics of the Olympic team were right. Griffin, a PF for the Los Angeles Clippers who has been practicing as a C for the Olympic team, injured his left knee Wednesday in practice. He must travel to L.A. to be looked at by team doctors, so as of now the severity of the injury is unknown.
Griffin complained of “discomfort” during practice, and according to ESPN, a source said the knee was swollen after practice. This is the same knee that kept Griffin out of what should have been his rookie season. This is also the same knee he injured during the playoffs this year. This comes only one day after he signed a five-year, $95 million extension with the Clippers.
Anthony Davis, the #1 overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets has been asked to report to training camp to replace Griffin. Ironically, Davis was present during Olympic Team tryouts, but his own ankle injury hindered his chances to make the roster. He is expected to dress for the team’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic, coached by his former Coach, John Calipari.
In light of the new extension Griffin signed, I would be surprised if his Clippers coaching staff allowed him to return back to Olympic practices, granted the knee injury is not severe. Davis is an alternate for the team, so he is allowed to replace someone on the team up to 48 hours before the start of the Olympics. At this point he is a likely replacement, but now the team is left only with Tyson Chandler as a true Center, and a kid who has yet to play one minute in an actual NBA game.
With injuries to Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Lamarcus Aldridge, and now Blake Griffin, it is now more understandable why Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom decided to be left off of the Olympic team. Bynum received heavy criticism after saying “Thanks, but no thanks” to the team, but given his history of knee injuries I don’t blame him for wanting to remain healthy. I’m sure Mark Cuban is somewhere with his feet propped up saying “I told you so,” and at this point I’d be hard pressed to disagree with him.