Blake Griffin suspended for four games by the Clippers

Ball Don't Lie
Blake Griffin blocks it off. (Getty Images)
Blake Griffin blocks it off. (Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers have suspended Blake Griffin four games for his role in an altercation with the team’s equipment manager. That suspension will be served following his return to playing action after his rather frightening swollen hand heals, a return that could still be over a month away.

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From a statement on the team’s website:

The L.A. Clippers announced today that forward Blake Griffin has been suspended without pay for four games for striking a team employee on Jan. 23 and his wages will be withheld for one additional game for injuries he sustained. The NBA has assisted us in this process.

The Clippers will donate the salary from the five games to charities focused on disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. At his request, Blake will support this activity with his time.

We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization. Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team. He understands his actions have consequences, and is eager to get back to work with his teammates, the organization and Clipper Nation which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games.

For our team and organization, it is time to move forward which begins today and ultimately concludes when we have Blake back on the court.

It was reported in the wake of the altercation – which apparently escalated after a teasing match in a Toronto restaurant got out of hand – that the league was investigating the incident in concert with the Clippers. Apparently Griffin’s friendship with his victim prevented any further investigations on the authority’s behalf, a boon for Blake and his team.

For those that are wondering, the NBA doesn’t let you weasel out of these sorts of things while you’re on the injured list. The league plays close attention and isn’t going to allow the Clippers to declare Griffin healthy a week or so early just so he could serve his suspension during games he’d already be sitting out. The NBA doesn’t want another Larry Sanders situation with one of its biggest stars.

The Clippers, for their part, are going to enforce as much – this team is incredibly lucky that Griffin got off with just a four game suspension.

What remains to be seen is the timetable in place. This is, obviously, not a basketball injury, and while Griffin can stay in relatively good shape during his time away from the court, a massive injury to one’s shooting hand could spell doom for the Clippers’ season. Griffin is one of the league’s best long two-point shooting big men, and one of the best passing forwards in the NBA. If the Clips don’t have him approximating what he gave them prior to the injury, the 2015-16 campaign might be lost.

The Clippers are solidly stuck with the Western Conference’s fourth seed entering Tuesday night, at 35-17. Griffin had missed time previous to the fight with a quadriceps injury, but his team had been playing very well in his absence, despite missing out on the 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists he was providing on average.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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