Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been medically cleared by doctors to resume all basketball related activities and began his four-game suspension starting with the team’s win Sunday over the Denver Nuggets.
Griffin was suspended for four games by the Clippers and had five games’ pay of $859,442 taken away following a January altercation at a Toronto restaurant in which he suffered a broken right hand after punching an assistant equipment manager.
Griffin was set to return from a partially torn right quadriceps he suffered Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers around the time of the incident, but the hand injury has kept him out for another two months. Entering Sunday, he had missed a total of 41 games.
Griffin was cleared for contact Saturday and went through his first workout.
“I think we’re all excited,” Clippers center DeAndre Jordan said. “We’ve really missed him. You can’t really replace a guy like that, but we have pieces… So, whenever Blake gets back next week — it’s obviously going to take him some time to get his rhythm back and everything. We’re all really excited.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers also elaborated on how much time Griffin may see as he works his way back into basketball shape.
“[Griffin] had no endurance as far as his wind,” Rivers said. “But as far as playing basketball, he looked terrific…The question, more importantly, is not the starting; it’s how many minutes in a row can he play. If we went by yesterday, it’d be three.”
Griffin, who averaged 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5 assists in 30 games, is set to return April 3 against the Washington Wizards, the team said.