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Clippers' Blake Griffin to play against Spurs despite injuries

Coach Vinny Del Negro says the power forward's elbow and neck problems are a concern, but 'he'll give us what he can give us.'

November 06, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Blake Griffin expects to play Wednesday against San Antonio.
Blake Griffin expects to play Wednesday against San Antonio. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Besides having a burst bursa sac in his right elbow, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin is also dealing with a neck strain after a hit in practice Tuesday.

But despite the injuries, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Griffin will play against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"His elbow is a concern," Del Negro said. "His neck is a concern. But Blake is a tough kid. He'll play through it and give us what he can give us."

Del Negro said that Griffin's elbow is irritating the All-Star "a little bit," but that Griffin has played through the pain before.

Griffin has dealt with the elbow problem since last season.

"It's a little bit worse," Del Negro said. "It's a little more swelling. He's had that for a long time. But this time it seems to be a little bit more than normal."

Griffin is shooting 45.1% from the field this season and averaging 16.3 points per game, third best on the team. Last season, Griffin shot 54.9% and averaged a team-high 20.7 points.

Clearly, Del Negro said, Griffin's elbow is bothering him.

"Sure, it would affect everyone when you've got a bunch of fluid in your elbow," Del Negro said. "Like I said, he'll fight through it and give us what he can."

Starting slowly

The Clippers didn't envision starting the season this way.

They play seven of their first nine games at Staples Center, a time when a team with such high expectations was expected to flourish.

Instead, the Clippers are 1-2 at home and face the 4-0 Spurs next.

"Anytime you lose at home, it hurts you down the road," Del Negro said. "But all you can do is move forward. You can, hopefully, look behind you and gain some experience from it."

The losses came against the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, two teams that missed the playoffs last season and aren't expected to reach the postseason this season.

The Clippers' victory at home was against the Memphis Grizzlies, whom the Clippers defeated in seven games in a first-round playoff series last season; the Clippers' other victory was in a designated road game against the Lakers.

"I think we're one of those team that it's not going to matter if we're home or away," Chris Paul said. "We just need to play right wherever we are at."

The Clippers fell behind early in both losses and didn't bring the necessary intensity until too late.

They all say that has to change.

"I'm disappointed and it starts with me as the point guard," Paul said. "I can't let us come out and start off games like that."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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