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Blake Griffin issues statement about altercation with team staff member

Blake Griffin suffered a fractured hand after punching a Los Angeles Clippers equipment staffer in Toronto. Griffin released a statement about the incident.
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Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has spoken out about the altercation that caused his fractured right hand.

“A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself towards someone I care about,” Griffin wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I want to apologize to the Clippers organization, my teammates and the fans for creating a distraction.”

Griffin also added that he and the team are working on a resolution. 

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Dan Woike of the Orange County Registerreports that an early timetable for his return is 4–6 weeks.

The team confirmed Griffin’s injury in a statement released by owner Steve Ballmer and President of Basketball Operations and head coach Doc Rivers. According to the statement, Griffin underwent surgery on his hand Tuesday morning.

The injury occurred after Griffin hit a member of the team’s equipment staff during an argument in Toronto, reports Michael Eaves of ESPN. The altercation reportedly started in a restaurant and proceeded outside, where the Clippers star repeatedly hit the staffer.

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“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team. We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken,” Ballmer and Rivers wrote in the statement.

The statement acknowledges that the injury occurred due to Griffin throwing a punch, but does not give any further details regarding the altercation.

Contrary to the statement, Rivers told reporters Tuesday that it seems “unrealistic” for Griffin to return in 4–6 weeks. He also called the situation a distraction for the team.

“This type of stuff shouldn’t happen. But it did. And it’s real life, and you have to live with real life stuff,” Rivers said of the incident.

Griffin returned to Los Angeles early while the Clippers continued their five-game Eastern Conference road trip.

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Griffin was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery for a nightclub incident in November 2014. The charges were dropped last March as a prosecutor could not prove allegations against Griffin.

Griffin is averaging 23.2 points with 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists through 30 games this season. He has not played since he sustained a torn quadriceps in the Clippers’ Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers, but he had been hoping to return to the court during this road trip.

- Erin Flynn