LOS ANGELES • The Los Angeles Clippers will have to finish their National Basketball Association (NBA) post-season without star forward Blake Griffin for a second straight year.
The 28-year-old injured his right big toe in the first half of the Clippers' 111-106 victory over the host Utah Jazz on Friday, and the club announced on Saturday that he will miss the remainder of the play-offs .
Los Angeles go into Game Four this morning (Singapore time) with a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference best-of- seven first-round playoff series, but face an uphill task with the forward's absence.
Griffin, who can become a free agent in the summer, averaged 25 points and six rebounds in the first two games of the series.
He scored 11 points on five-of-nine shooting with six rebounds over 18 minutes in his abbreviated final outing for the Clippers.
Griffin was the Clippers' leading scorer, second-leading rebounder (behind DeAndre Jordan) and second-leading player in assists (behind Chris Paul) in the regular season, averaging 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
"One of the biggest adjustments is we probably won't be able to play through the post so much," Paul said of playing without his five-time NBA All-Star team-mate.
"He's such a dynamic player. We go to him in the post, and we cut and move off him... He's our other assist guy.
"Just his leadership, it's just a different feeling when he's on the court."
Griffin has been nagged by injuries during his NBA career.
In last year's play-offs, he aggravated a left quadriceps injury in Game Four of the Clippers' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Clippers were eliminated in six games.
Earlier this season, Griffin missed 18 consecutive games after a right knee surgery.