Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
To say Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his players were bummed out following Monday’s 98-84 Game 4 loss to the host Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center, would be putting it mildly.
Not only the the Trail Blazers tie the series 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Clippers lost Chris Paul – probably for the series and maybe for the season – when Paul sustained a fracture of the third metacarpal in his right hand during the third quarter.
It happened when Paul was guarding Portland’s Gerald Henderson.
“Well, I didn’t see the play, I just know he fractured his hand,” Rivers said, glumly. “He’s going to get it evaluated tomorrow, but it obviously doesn’t look very good for him.”
That’s not all. Blake Griffin’s partially torn quad tendon is acting up again, and he wasn’t able to play down the stretch.
“It doesn’t look great for him, either,” Rivers said. “We’ll see about it tomorrow.”
He said Griffin felt it when he planted on the leg.
“We’re not sure with Blake yet,” Rivers said. “I think he’ll get evaluted tomorrow when we get back. I would say 50-50 on the next game with him. I expect him to be back, but we don’t know that yet. So I don’t want to say much.”
Griffin was asked post-game if he thinks he’ll play Wednesday.
“Tomorrow, I think, we’ll take a better look and go from there.”
The biggest concern was Paul. He has easily been the best player on the team this season, and was having a fine series. Griffin said he spoke with Paul before Paul left Moda Center.
“Yeah, I talked to him,” Griffin said. “I mean, he’s clearly disappointed, upset. But there’s nothing you can do. You try to tell a guy like that that, you know, ‘It’s OK, we got you and it’s going to be OK,’ but he’s a competitor and he wants to play, so it’s tough.
“It’s not easy dealing with injuries, especially this time of the year, so as his teammates we’ll always have his back and we’ll go from there.”
Sixth-man Jamal Crawford spoke in soft tones when assessing the loss of Paul.
“Major, major blow,” he said. “I just feel bad for him personally because I know how much he puts into the game and how much he gives himself to the team. We get Blake back,lose Chris. Tough, tough deal.”
Griffin missed 45 consecutive games with the quad injury, a fractured right hand and four-game suspension before playing in five of the final seven regular-season games.