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Clippers relieved Blake Griffin is expected to be ready for camp

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Coach Vinny Del Negro says the most important thing is that the All-Star power forward will be ready for training camp after having surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee.

July 13, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Blake Griffin has a torn medial meniscus in his left knee that will require arthroscopic surgery.
Blake Griffin has a torn medial meniscus in his left knee that will require… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

A day after digesting the news that Blake Griffin has a torn medial meniscus in his left knee that will require arthroscopic surgery early next week, the Clippers were "relieved" that it wasn't worse.

Even though Griffin will miss playing in the Olympics, the relief among the Clippers is because their All-Star power forward is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of training camp in October.

"We're relieved, even though he's going to have surgery and clean that up," said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro, who was at the team's practice facility Friday watching his summer league team practice before they leave to play in Las Vegas on Monday.

"But we're very confident that he'll be back for training camp and get back to 100%. So, as bad as that news is, it's probably the best news that we could have gotten, which is great."

Though Del Negro said there was no timetable for Griffin's return, he is expected to be out about eight weeks after the surgery.

Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan–Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic will perform the surgery on Griffin.

It is the same knee on which Griffin had season-ending surgery during his 2009-10 rookie season with the Clippers, but the reports showed the Clippers that the stress fracture procedure ElAttrache performed on the kneecap was unrelated to Thursday's injury.

It's also the same knee that Griffin sprained in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Griffin didn't miss a game in that series and played in the next four games in the semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporters in Las Vegas on Thursday that Griffin had an option to get his knee "scoped" at the end of the season and "opted not to get scoped."

"That wasn't something that he needed at that time," Del Negro said. "That was evaluated and our doctors felt like he just needed some rest, which he took. He was fine after that.

"He was injured a little bit in the playoffs, and at that time, he just needed rest. He got the rest. The doctors felt and we felt that there was no surgery needed. So, that wasn't the case at all."

Griffin had an MRI exam Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles after complaining of discomfort following a practice Wednesday night in Las Vegas with the U.S. Olympic team.

The results were then analyzed by ElAttrache and Clippers team physician Steven Shimoyama.

Griffin, who signed a five-year, $95-million extension with the Clippers on Wednesday, still will have his appointment with ElAttrache on Sunday.

"There's no timetable, but it's when he's ready to go," Del Negro said about Griffin's return. "He'll be ready for training camp. That's how I look at it. That's the most important thing."

Also, the Clippers announced Friday that they had officially re-signed Chauncey Billups to a one-year, $4.3-million contract.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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