NBA security officials interviewed Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and team assistant athletic trainer/travel manager Joe Resendez on Wednesday as part of the league's investigation into last weekend's altercation between Blake Griffin and team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi, which resulted in the All-Star power forward sustaining a broken bone in his right hand that is expected to sideline him for at least four to six weeks.
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Jordan and Resendez were part of the group at the Toronto restaurant where Griffin punched Testi on Saturday night, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
NBA officials were trying to find out what Jordan and Resendez knew about the altercation during the dinner that all four attended, according to several league officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The NBA soon will interview Griffin, who broke his right hand and will be out four to six weeks and possibly will face a fine or suspension by the league once the investigation is complete, one official said.
The NBA also plans to interview Testi, who suffered a badly swollen face.
Exactly what Jordan and Resendez said in their interviews remains unclear, but according to Turner's Times colleague Ben Bolch, the altercation came after a simple dinner among friends "took a horrific turn."
Griffin and Testi had engaged in some of their routine back-and-forth teasing when things became heated, with the confrontation starting inside the restaurant and continuing outside and involving multiple blows from Griffin, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Jordan would not elaborate on what happened or say whether he tried to intervene when asked about the incident Wednesday after the Clippers defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 85-83, at Philips Arena.
“It's a tough situation,” Jordan said. “Two guys that I'm super close with and it's sticky, man. It's tough.”
Griffin apologized for "creating a distraction" with the incident on Tuesday night.
"A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself towards someone I care about," Griffin wrote in his tweeted statement. "I want to apologize to the Clippers organization, my teammates and the fans for creating a distraction. I am working with the team on a resolution and getting back in the game as soon as possible."
While Griffin is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the fourth metacarpal that he fractured by throwing multiple punches at Testi with his shooting hand — a timeline that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday "is unrealistic," but that a couple of orthopedic surgeons told the Times seems reasonable enough — both Griffin and Testi will be welcomed back to the team, with Griffin “most likely” in attendance at Staples Center for the Clippers' Friday game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Under the current injury timetable, Griffin would miss between 12 and 18 games, putting him in line to return in early-to-mid March. The Clippers, NBA and National Basketball Players Association "are all investigating the incident," according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, who reports that any prospective punishment that would cost Griffin additional time after the fact would likely come from the Clippers.
In the meantime, the Clippers continue to soldier on without Griffin, who has already missed the last 15 games after suffering a partially torn quadriceps tendon during the team's Christmas Day victory over the Lakers. L.A. has gone 12-3 in Griffin's absence, scoring an average of 109.2 points per 100 possessions (fifth-best in the league in that span) and outscoring opponents by 8.9 points-per-100 (third-best, behind only the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors) behind stellar play from point guard Chris Paul, shooting guard J.J. Redick and center Jordan to improve to 30-16 on the season.
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