The staffer Blake Griffin punched no longer works for the Clippers

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4561/" data-ylk="slk:Blake Griffin">Blake Griffin</a> stands on the court as Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi (left) stands behind the bench during a Feb. 18, 2016, game. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)
Blake Griffin stands on the court as Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi (left) stands behind the bench during a Feb. 18, 2016, game. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)

Matias Testi, the assistant equipment manager on whose face Blake Griffin broke his right hand back in January, is no longer employed by the Los Angeles Clippers.

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TMZ had the story first on Wednesday, and it was subsequently confirmed by a number of sources, including ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The Clippers declined comment to all parties on whether Testi was fired or left of his own accord, though it seems the split happened recently; according to Turner of the Times, “Testi was seen at the team’s practice facility by media members July 11 when the Clippers introduced their rookies.”

During an East Coast road trip, Griffin — who’d been sidelined since Christmas after suffering a partially torn left quadriceps tendon — was sent back to Los Angeles to continue “working his way back into game shape,” according to a team spokesperson. ESPN soon reported, though, that Griffin’s return trip came after he injured his right hand “in an undisclosed team-related incident.”

That incident was later specified as “hitting a member of the team’s equipment staff” during an argument at a restaurant following a loss to the Toronto Raptors; that staff member was later identified as Testi, “who has been close with Griffin for years and routinely banters back and forth with the five-time All-Star,” according to USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick. The altercation reportedly began inside the restaurant with Griffin hitting Testi, who went outside, only to be followed by Griffin, who hit him again. The Clippers later announced that Griffin had “suffered a spiral fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand throwing a punch on Jan. 23 in Toronto,” and had undergone surgery to repair it.

“A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself towards someone I care about,” Griffin wrote in a 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.”

After an NBA investigation into how “routine back-and-forth teasing” between Griffin and Testi turned into multiple punches, a broken hand and a badly swollen face, the Clippers suspended Griffin for four games without pay, and docked him a paycheck for a fifth game — a total penalty of $859,442 — “for striking a team employee” and “conduct [that] has no place in the Clippers organization.”

“It was a situation, like I said, between two friends that escalated and again, I exercised poor judgment,” Griffin said in his first public comments following his suspension. “It is something that I think about every day and wish I could take it back and I have told Matias that. It is one of those things that you cannot take back, so now I am focused on moving forward and doing the best I can from here on out. […] I have talked to Matias tons of times since the incident. He actually said it best: ‘Stuff happens. We are like brothers and we just have to move on.'”

Shortly thereafter, the Clippers tweeted out a picture of Griffin high-fiving Testi on the sideline, appended with the hashtag #Family:

(Screencap via For The Win)
(Screencap via For The Win)

That, as you might expect, got the Clippers roasted. That tweet’s long gone … and now, it seems, so is Testi. Whether his departure marks the end of this odd story, though, remains to be seen.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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