The NBA playoffs just got a little more interesting, especially in the Jazz and Clippers matchup in the western conference. The Jazz lost their star center Rudy Gobert in game one with a sprained knee. Now the Clippers got hit by the injury bug as well. Their star player Blake Griffin injured his toe in game three and didn't return. Now the news they got today was even worse, as Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the playoffs with that toe injury. Griffin was a major piece in the Clippers version of the big three.

Now that Griffin won't be coming back, are the Clippers chance at a championship all but gone?

Big Hole to Fill

Blake Griffin is leaving a huge hole for the Clippers to fill. The Clippers like to play through the post with Griffin who is averaging 20 points in this series against the Jazz. Chris Paul took to the scoring load in their game three win, putting up 34 points. The Clippers have only outscored the Jazz by two points when Griffin was on the bench this series. Griffin will be missed on the boards as well, averaging six rebounds per game.

Whoever steps into Blake Griffins place will need to produce similar stats or even better for the Clippers to have a chance this season. Griffin hasn't been able to stay healthy come playoff time, as this is the second time he's been injured in round one of the playoffs. Griffin's athleticism will be missed as well, as he is a high flyer which benefits the Clippers on the offensive end and the defensive end.

End of an Era?

With this injury to Blake Griffin, was game three the final time we will see him in a Clippers uniform? It isn't so farfetched as people may think. Griffin missed 18 games this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Injuries have been a constant in Griffin's career, and this new one might've closed the championship window for the Clippers. The Clippers were one of the few teams that might've been able to make it out of the western conference, but those odds have taken a sizeable drop.

Griffin was mentioned in trade rumors when the deadline was close, so expect many of those teams to come calling in the offseason. Griffin hasn't been able to stay healthy with the Clippers, so a change of scenery might be necessary. The Clippers won't be winning a championship without Griffin, and Owner Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers will need to take into consideration blowing up the core of the Clippers and looking to add new pieces in the offseason. This team hasn't been able to perform on the field together for substantial periods of time because of injuries. This season might be the end of the Clippers era.

Blake Griffin will be watching from the sidelines for however long the Clippers are in the playoffs. His dynamic scoring and playmaking will be missed, but the Clippers must refocus and prepare for game four. Game four will be in Utah on Sunday at 9 p.m. EST.

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