Clippers' Griffin to miss rest of playoffs with toe injury

(The Sports Xchange) – Los Angeles Clippers star forward Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the NBA playoffs because of a big toe injury, the team announced Saturday.

The news came less than 12 hours after the injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe suffered during the Clippers’ 111-106 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

The five-time All-Star forward will be re-evaluated upon the team’s return from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles.

The 6-foot-10, 251-pound Griffin injured the toe after landing awkwardly with 3:18 left before halftime. He went to the locker room during a subsequent timeout and had X-rays taken on the toe.

Griffin scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and collected six rebounds in 18 minutes. He averaged 25.0 points and 6.0 rebounds during the first two games of the series against the Jazz.

During the 2016-17 regular season, Griffin averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 61 games.

Griffin, 28, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. In last year’s playoffs, he aggravated a left quadriceps injury in Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers and did not return for the remainder of the series. The Clippers eventually were eliminated in six games.

Griffin missed 18 straight games earlier this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee.

With Griffin out in the second half, Clippers point guard Chris Paul sparked the team’s second-half rally Friday night, finishing with a season-high 34 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.

“One of the biggest adjustments is, we probably won’t be able to play through the post so much,” Paul explained after the game how different the Clippers’ offense will be without Griffin.

“He’s such a dynamic player. We go to him in the post, and we cut and move off him. … He’s our other assist guy. Just his leadership, it’s just a different feeling when he’s on the court.”

The Clippers have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be Sunday night in Utah.

(Editing by Andrew Both)