(The Sports Xchange) - The Los Angeles Clippers were hit with a double whammy on Tuesday.
Point guard Chris Paul underwent surgery on his broken hand in Los Angeles and will miss the rest of the NBA playoffs. The team also announced that forward Blake Griffin will be out for the remainder of the postseason with a quad injury.
In one day, the Clippers went from a team that saw a golden opportunity open in front of them when Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry went down with a knee injury to one that likely will have to fight just to reach the next round of the playoffs.
Paul left Monday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers in the third quarter and did not return. X-rays showed a fractured third metacarpal bone.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said all the team can do at this point is to move on and prepare for Game Five in the Western Conference first-round series on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The series is tied 2-2.
“We don’t have to be the best team. We just have to be the best team tomorrow,” Rivers said. “And then we have to figure out how to do it one more time.”
Griffin had 17 points and seven rebounds before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a sore left quad.
Paul, who finished with 16 points and four assists in 25 minutes, left the game midway through the third quarter. He was hurt while defending Gerald Henderson, reaching in an attempt to knock the ball away.
”It changes things a lot -- more so for them,“ Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said of Paul’s injury. ”Their best player goes down, the guy that makes your team go. ... It’s unfortunate for one of the better players in the league to go through an injury like that. You don’t wish that on anybody.
“It’s not like they have guys who can’t play. They still have a really good team. Our mindset has to be, nothing changes. We have to have the same approach defensively and continue to trust each other offensively.”
Editing by Frank Pingue