USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed this morning that he had been informed that USA and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been diagnosed with a medial meniscus tear of his left knee. The injury will require arthroscopic surgery, which will force the 6’10” and 251-pound Griffin to miss the rest of the USA National Team training and the London Olympics. Griffin is expected to be at full readiness when the Clippers’ training camp opens this fall.
USA Basketball also announced that Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets), who tallied nine points in almost 10 minutes of action against the Dominican Republic in the USA’s 113-59 exhibition victory Thursday night, has been officially named as a member of the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s National Team and 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team following Griffin’s withdrawal.
“We are sorry to have received confirmation of Blake’s injury which has forced his withdrawal from the USA Team for this summer,” said Colangelo. “Blake worked extremely hard in our training camp and certainly would have been a valuable contributor. This is another unfortunate injury, but we have to continue to move on and we’re very fortunate to have Anthony Davis available. Anthony offers our team additional height and length, and this will be an incredible experience for him.”
Griffin experienced discomfort in his knee following Wednesday's USA practice in Las Vegas. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging examination on Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles. MRI data was then analyzed by Clippers' Team Physician, Dr. Steven Shimoyama, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Griffin’s surgery is expected to take place fairly soon, and will be scheduled following Griffin's appointment with Dr. ElAttrache on Sunday.
“I'm disappointed I can't be with the guys in London. I want to wish them all the best in their pursuit of the gold medal,” said Griffin.
Davis, who led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to this year’s NCAA championship, was named a finalist for the USA Team on May 3, 2012. The NBA’s 2012 No. 1 draft pick, Davis played and started in all 40 UK games as a freshman and led the Wildcats to a 38-2 record, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season title and the NCAA championship.
“It’s sad to hear what happened to Blake (Griffin) - he’s a great player and it would have been a great opportunity for him,” said Davis after making his USA National Team debut Thursday night. “Tonight was a great feeling out here and I had fun. They (teammates) told me to go out there and have fun, relax and take deep breaths. Don't think of it like there is pressure on you. It can really help me being around all these guys in this experience and playing in the Olympics fresh out of college.
“Whatever Coach K wants me to do I am going to do. I am going to look forward to the challenges, and I’m looking forward to going overseas and my first time out of the United States. I am looking forward to that and getting to mingle with some of the guys and getting to know them and their workout routines and how they get ready for each game. They are superstars and they are here for a reason, so I'll just try to emulate what they do.”
The 6-10 forward in 2011-12 averaged team-highs of 14.2 ppg., 10.4 rpg. and 4.7 bpg., while adding 1.3 apg. and 1.4 spg. He shot 62.3 percent from the floor and 70.9 percent from the foul line. Named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading Kentucky to the title and averaging 13.7 ppg., 12.3 rpg. and 4.8 bpg. in NCAA Tournament play, the Chicago native recorded 186 blocks which is the most in the history of the SEC and an all-time NCAA mark for freshmen. Davis owns UK freshman records for blocks (186) and rebounds (399) by a Kentucky first-year player. He also tied the UK freshman record for double-doubles (20). He won six National Player of the Year awards including the Adolph Rupp Trophy, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), Basketball Times, Associated Press, Wooden and Naismith. In winning the 2012 Naismith Trophy, Davis became just the second freshman to ever capture the award. Additionally, he was selected the 2012 SEC player, freshman and defensive player of the year.
Davis has represented USA Basketball previously. As a high school senior he was selected a member of USA Basketball’s Junior National Select Team that competed in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. Davis finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two block shots to help the USA to a 92-80 win over the World Select Team.
Named on July 7 to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team were: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); LeBron James (Miami Heat); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder); and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets).
The 2012 USA coaching staff is led by Duke University Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski, who has led the USA Basketball Men’s National Team to gold medal finishes at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2008 Beijing Olympics. Assisting Krzyzewski is Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, and former NBA head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan.
Following the USA’s training and exhibition contest in Las Vegas, the USA will move on to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to train July 13-15 and play an exhibition contest versus Brazil at the Verizon Center on July 16 (8 p.m. local time). The game will be part of a doubleheader with the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, which will face Brazil’s Women’s National Team (5:30 p.m. local time).