Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is ready to make his return from injury and could feature either on Sunday or Tuesday at the latest.
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Griffin is understood to have gone through a full workout in Los Angeles without any limitations and is scheduled to return against the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
However, there is a suggestion that the Clippers will want to see him go through a practice and a shootaround before making a final decision, and so Sunday may come too soon for the forward.
If that is the case, then Griffin is expected to face the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday as the team welcome him back from a prolonged absence.
The 25-year-old has missed the last 15 games after undergoing surgery to remove a staph infection from his right elbow, but coach Doc Rivers is pleased with his improvement more recently.
Rivers added that Griffin was “very close to returning” and so it remains to be seen whether or not his name is included in the line-up on Sunday.
The Clippers have certainly coped well in his absence as there were fears that his injury could leave them in trouble in a highly competitive Western Conference.
Rivers’ men remain in fifth spot in the West with a 42-24 record, but they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 which has allowed the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs to close the gap slightly.
The Mavs are a half-game behind while the Spurs are a game adrift of the Clippers, and with Griffin needing time to work his way back into the team, it could be a tricky few games for Rivers before all is back in sync.