Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin underwent 2nd knee surgery in 8 months

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin underwent knee surgery on Tuesday. His left knee has given his problems throughout his career.

Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin underwent knee surgery on Tuesday.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Griffin will have an extended rehab. On Monday, he reported that Griffin was going to be reevaluated for season-ending surgery.

The Pistons announced Tuesday that Griffin doesn’t have a timetable for his return after a successful arthroscopic debridement of his left knee. Detroit News writer Rod Beard said this particular surgery “extracts any loose material that may be in the knee joint and can smooth the surfaces inside the knee.”

Detroit would be eligible for a disabled player exception valued at $9.258 million but the team must apply by Jan. 15, according to freelance writer Keith Smith. The Pistons could sign, claim or trade for a player on an expiring contract up to that trade value. Though The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III believes the Pistons won’t use that given the trajectory of their season.

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For Griffin, it’s likely the end of a season where he played in 18 games and had the worst output of his career. He averaged 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, both career lows. That includes shooting a career-worst 35.2% from the field.

Griffin tore his meniscus late last season, which required surgery. Tuesday’s surgery is the second in eight months for Griffin, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a knee injury.

The six-time All-Star also sat out the final three games of the preseason. The first was listed as a coach’s decision and the next two were due to “left hamstring soreness.” It’s unclear when or what the official diagnosis for Griffin was.

Griffin, 30, was a critical part of the Pistons making their second playoff appearance in four seasons. He was an All-NBA selection a season ago while averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. It was arguably one of his best seasons of his career.

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Coming into the league, Griffin was known for his athleticism and was at the height of ‘Lob City’ catching alley-oops from Chris Paul with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was drafted in 2009 but didn’t debut until 2010 due to a broken left knee cap. He also missed significant time during the 2015-16 season with a left quad injury.

Griffin’s career has been frustrating, to say the least, leaving thoughts of what could have been of his injury-hampered career. Even then, he’s had an accomplished career that the Pistons are hoping will be resurrected, again, with Tuesday’s surgery.

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Detroit is on the hook for $36.6 million in 2020-21 and likely another $38.96 million for the 2021-22 season if Griffin choses to accept his player option. It’s a contract that likely renders Griffin unmovable unless the Pistons attach draft assets or a younger player to move with him.

The Pistons are 13-24 entering Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Detroit is four games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eight spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons are also tied for the seventh-worst record in the league.

Griffin’s injury has opened up more playing time for young forwards Sekou Doumbouya and Christian Wood. Doumbouya, the league’s youngest player at 19 years old, has started the last three games and scored in double figures in all three games. Wood, 22, is getting his first consistent NBA action after bouncing around the league.

The news likely sends the Pistons into a rebuild with trade chatter surrounding center Andre Drummond. The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports the Pistons believe they can negotiate a trade for Drummond before the Feb. 6 deadline.

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It’s an unfortunate situation for Griffin, who was visibly frustrated on the court while trying to give it a go. His health is of the utmost importance for the Pistons to re-tool over the next two seasons.