Even as he assures the Los Angeles Times the back injury that forced him to pull out of Team USA training camp is nothing serious, Clippers star Blake Griffin does little to quell concerns about his health.
From Griffin's camp stating the stress fracture in his back stemmed from the playoffs to the Clippers claiming no knowledge of the injury during their run to the conference semifinals in May and him doing backflips off the Croatian coast soon afterwards, it's been a strange few months for the four-time All-Star.
Now, in an interview with the L.A. Times, Griffin is saying his back isn't really fractured at all.
"It's less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact," Griffin said. "I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn't be playing and practicing everyday this early."
A "hairline," of course, refers to a stress fracture, and "less than a hairline" could refer to a repetitive stress injury to bone, as this sports medicine article explains. This falls in line with the original reports following his withdrawal from FIBA Basketball World Cup training: While he is expected to make a full recovery by season's start, Griffin requires rest that competing for Team USA simply wouldn't allot.
Meanwhile, he continues to train alongside teammate DeAndre Jordan, former Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and other NBA players with Gameshape Inc., as a series of social media posts from the organization's trainers have illustrated over the past couple weeks. The idea, Griffin's trainer Robbie Davis told the L.A. Times, is to strengthen his hips and lower back in order to "stabilize that area."
In his interview with Broderick Turner, Griffin further explains the sound reasoning behind training in L.A. and avoiding the constant pounding required to play for Team USA well into September.
"My whole thing is that I didn't want to go into (Clippers training) camp and put myself in a worse position," he said. "It's not that my back is broken and I'm walking around with a broken back, or I'm in so much pain.
"But if I start playing basically two months earlier than everybody else and then go through all of next season and the playoffs, then I'm probably going to put myself in a bad position. I couldn't do that."
This all makes perfect sense. Still, it has to cause some concern that Griffin must avoid an extended basketball season in order to lessen the potential of reinjuring a back that apparently failed to make it through the playoffs healthy, especially in light of the Clippers' championship aspirations in 2014-15.