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NBA Playoffs 2017: Clippers lose Griffin to injury

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is out for the remainder of the NBA playoffs after injuring his big toe during Friday night’s win against the Utah Jazz.

Blake Griffin (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Blake Griffin (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The team announced Saturday that the five-time All-Star was diagnosed with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. Griffin left Game 3 with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a transition layup.

He had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes, and the team said at the time the injury was a bruised toe. X-rays at the arena were negative, but he was re-evaluated after the game.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the injury actually happened on the play before the layup and added Griffin knew immediately that it was bad. The former No. 1 pick will remain in Salt Lake City, wearing a walking boot and will return with the team after Game 4 on Sunday. Rivers said surgery is a possibility.

His injury marks another playoff blow to a franchise that has dealt with a series of bad luck and internal turmoil in recent years.

Griffin and point guard Chris Paul were lost to injuries last year, and the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against Houston in 2015.

During the 2014 playoffs, voice recordings of then-owner Donald Sterling making racist comments surfaced, leading to him being banned by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who forced the sale of the team.

The Clippers were up 2-0 in 2013 before losing to Memphis in six games after Griffin stepped on teammate Lamar Odom and injured his ankle.

Rivers said he believes in the karmic-like presence of the “basketball gods,” but not in any kind of Clippers curse.

“You make your own luck at the end of the day,” Rivers said. “Like I told Blake last night … right now he’s probably thinking, ‘Why me?’ He’s too good of a guy for this to continue to happen. There’s going to be some kind of sunshine for him at some point. You’ve just got to weather this storm.”

The Clippers run much of their offense through Griffin and he’s one of the best passers on the team. Rivers said they’ll play both big — with Marreese Speights and DeAndre Jordan — and small for stretches. He doesn’t want to put too much of a load on Paul to make up the difference.

Paul added, “It has to be by committee. Blake’s too much to our team. Offensively, defensively, his presence. … We don’t have one person over there that we’re like, ‘Oh, Blake’s out, put him in.’”

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