OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Los Angeles Clippers were just hoping to make it through the end of their eight-game Grammy road trip.
More than a few players actually used the word “survive” when talking about playing four potential playoff teams -- Cleveland, Toronto, Oklahoma City and Dallas -- in five days.
As it turns out, the Clippers have had a hard time surviving the most brutal stretch of their schedule, not only in the standings but also on an injury report that had basically been non-existent before the trip began.
However, the Clippers suffered their biggest loss before the game when they discovered that Blake Griffin would be out indefinitely and forced to fly back to Los Angeles to undergo surgery on his ailing right elbow.
Griffin is expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks.
"It could be serious. It shouldn't be, but you have to be very careful with that injury," Doc Rivers said. "It's the unknown. With a sprained ankle, you know 10 days. But with infections, they're infections, and you just have to be very careful. You cannot mess around with it."
Not only were the Clippers without Griffin, but they also missed J.J. Redick for the third straight game with back spasms and would lose Glen Davis in the second quarter when he had to be helped off the court and was lost for the game with upper back spasms.
“As is often the case, when it rains it pours,” said Spencer Hawes, who had a season-high 17 points filling in for Griffin in the starting lineup.
“A lot of teams have gone through this. Some early and some now, some people get hurt when they’re trying to make the push at the end. It’s never a good time to get key guys hurt, but you’d probably rather it be now than the stretch run.”
Turn out the lights: Not only have the Clippers lost four straight, but their last three losses have been blowouts. For the second time in the last three games, the Clippers trailed by at least 30 points in the second half, and for the third straight game, they trailed by at least 20 in the fourth quarter. Coming into this week, the Clippers had never lost three straight games under Rivers.
Falling in the standings: The Clippers began their eight-game road trip third in the Western Conference standings and will likely finish it in seventh place, which is where they stand after Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma City and going into Monday’s game at Dallas. The Clippers still have a four-game cushion from the eighth and final playoff spot, but with Griffin potentially sidelined at least a month, it may be hard for the Clippers to enter the playoffs with home court in the first round.
Potential good news: It’s been a rough patch of injuries for the Clippers, but there could be some relief on the horizon. While Redick has missed the past three games and basically five of the past seven with back spasms, team sources said he will likely play Monday in Dallas or Wednesday against Houston and still plans on participating in the 3-point contest during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Up next: The Clippers travel to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Monday. It is the final game of their eight-game road trip before they play Houston on Wednesday in their final game before the break.