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In Street Clothes

Covering sports injuries from the perspective of a certified athletic trainer and backed by analytics.

Los Angeles Clippers

Summary

The Lob City Era came to close last season after another disappointing postseason performance. All-Star point guard Chris Paul was dealt to Houston and veteran guards JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford also found new teams in the offseason. However, not all was lost as forward Blake Griffin re-upped with the franchise, signing a 5-year $173 million deal. The team also added some much-needed depth signing forward Danilo Gallinari and guards Lou Williams and Milos Teodosic.

Head athletic trainer Jasen Powell and his staff have steadily improved over the past five years, including two top-10 finishes in fewest games lost to injury. Even last year’s regression is a bit misleading as injuries to rookies Diamond Stone and Brice Johnson accounted for 70 percent of Los Angeles’ total games lost. Both players were fringe rotation players allowing the Clippers to finish in the top 10 for fewest total minutes lost.

Powell and his team will be assigned the tough task of keeping Griffin and Gallinari healthy. The talented forwards have each averaged over 20 games lost to injury per season since joining the league and both have missed an entire season to injury. Griffin missed his rookie season with a stress fracture in his knee while Gallinari sat out the 2013-14 campaign after tearing his ACL.

While Griffin has looked sharp in preseason following offseason toe surgery, Gallinari has already missed time with a minor foot sprain. Mild injuries to Austin Rivers and Sam Dekker have also prevented a roster full of new faces a chance to gel. If these issues carry over into the start of the regular season the new look Clippers could face some early season struggles in their quest for a seventh straight playoff berth.