Blake Griffin has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left knee and will have arthroscopic surgery probably early next week, according to NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Griffin will not be playing for the U.S. Olympic team in London later this month, but he will be available for Clippers training camp that starts in October.
That's right. Team USA has lost some serious size, and if Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love aren't enough, they will have to rely on rookie Anthony Davis.
How serious is the loss? It's really hard to determine at this point. Blake Griffin obviously provides a good deal of athleticism, which Team USA probably won't miss by any stretch. But he also provided a good deal of size down low, low post scoring, and rebounds. Theoretically, Anthony Davis should be able to replace all of these needs, but he's a big question mark, having never seen any NBA minutes. Also considering that he's the 12th man, he probably won't see much time unless the team is having serious problems down low.
So, replacing Griffin's rebounding, scoring, and size will most likely be a combo of Love and Chandler. Chandler and love both rebound well, and Chandler is the reigning defensive player of the year. But neither of them are huge post scorers. Chandler can score, but he's never averaged more than 12 points in his NBA career. Love can score very well, but a big part of that is his ability to rebound and stretch the defense with his good shooting ability. Griffin provided a legitimate post threat, and a better pick and roll threat than Chandler was. I'm not saying that Griffin's loss is crippling, but it's definitely something worth keeping an eye on as Team USA faces more legitimate post teams in exhibitions, like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain.