The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 2, 2008

Griffin out at least two games

Freshman forward has surgery on injured right knee

Oklahoma’s stretch run toward a possible NCAA Tournament berth has hit a major road block. Sunday, freshman forward Blake Griffin underwent arthroscopic surgery for a partially torn medial meniscus (cartilage) in his right knee and will miss at least the last two regular-season games.

Griffin injured the knee with 15:15 remaining in the first half of Saturday’s 64-37 win over Texas A&M.; He fell to the floor after getting tangled with the Aggies’ Bryan Davis. Griffin went to the bench 18 seconds later and returned to the court with 4:49 left in the half. He finished the game with 13 points and a game-high-tying eight rebounds in 23 minutes. He scored 11 of his points and grabbed seven of his eight boards after sustaining the injury.

He underwent an MRI Saturday night that revealed the extent of the injury.

His absence could be a crippling blow to the Sooners’ NCAA Tournament hopes. Griffin is their leading scorer and rebounder. He ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring (15.2), fourth in rebounding (9.3) and third in field goal percentage (.568) while also averaging 2.0 assists per game and registering 24 blocked shots in his 28 outings. Over the last five contests, Griffin is averaging 16.8 points and 12.8 rebounds.

OU (19-10, 7-7 Big 12) is in a four-way tie with Texas A&M;, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State for fifth place in the standings. The Sooners face the Cowboys Wednesday night in Stillwater and return to Lloyd Noble Center Saturday to face Missouri in the regular-season finale.

Without Griffin, the Sooners will once again be playing with only two scholarship post players. Taylor Griffin and Longar Longar, who returned to the lineup two weeks ago, but is still dealing with the effects of a broken leg he suffered five weeks ago.

OU has played what amounted to two games without the freshman this season. On Jan. 14, Griffin suffered sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee with 15:10 left in the first half at Kansas. He missed the remainder of that contest, as well as OU’s next game against Texas Tech.

According to the prognosis released by OU’s medical staff, Griffin’s next action on the court could be March 13 when the Big 12 tournament begins at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. If the injury doesn’t heal in time, he his expected back the following week for either the NCAA Tournament or NIT.

John Shinn

366-3536

jshinn@normantranscript.co

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