Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Griffin Out up to Four Weeks

Oklahoma freshman forward Blake Griffin will miss up to four weeks after spraining the MCL in his left knee in the Sooners' loss to Kansas on Monday night. It was deemed that no surgery would be required after Griffin underwent an MRI this afternoon. The 6-10 star played just five minutes against the Jayhawks before landing awkwardly after jumping for a rebound.

"We're very glad it's not season ending or career-threatening," head coach Jeff Capel said. "But it's a huge blow to our team. Blake is our leading scorer and rebounder, and has been playing his best basketball. He was really starting to become the dominant player that we knew he could be. Blake's injury affects our frontcourt depth, but it also presents an opportunity for other guys to step up. They have to be ready. We're not going to make any excuses."

Griffin was averaging 15.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and was shooting 60 percent from the field heading into last night, including 53 points and 21 rebounds over his past two games.

This is a huge loss for the Sooners over the next month, especially since Griffin was just starting to come on and carry them. Oklahoma needed to bounce back in a major way after beginning the Big 12 season 0-2, and the absence of Griffin will make it much more difficult to make a run at an NCAA Tournament bid. If the Sooners do stay in contention for an at-large berth until Griffin gets back, the Selection Committee will likely evaluate them as they are with Griffin in the fold. In his absence, Longar Longar will have to become a go-to-guy down low, and Blake's brother, Taylor, will also have to become more of a factor up front. For a team that relies so much on its frontcourt, it will need guard Tony Crocker to be a consistent offensive option on the perimeter. No matter what way you slice this, it's a big loss if Griffin is indeed out for an entire month.

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