(Reuters) - Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin injured his knee during a scrimmage at the U.S. Olympic training camp in Las Vegas and is returning to Los Angeles for a medical examination, USA Basketball said on Thursday.
Griffin, who signed a five-year contract extension with the Clippers worth nearly $100 million this week, told officials he was experiencing discomfort in his left knee after Wednesday’s full practice.
The All-Star forward, known for his electrifying dunks, was flying back to Los Angeles for further evaluation and would miss the U.S. team’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic exhibition game later on Thursday.
Should Griffin be forced out of the July 27-August 12 London Games, it would be the latest in a long string of injuries that have hit the defending Olympic champions.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, and center/forward Chris Bosh and guard Dwyane Wade of the NBA champion Miami Heat were among players already ruled out of the U.S. roster due to injuries.
There was speculation that New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis, the top pick in June’s National Basketball Association Draft, would be considered as a replacement for Griffin, should he withdraw.
Griffin averaged 20.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 66 games last season to help the Clippers to a 40-26 record for their first winning season since 2005-06.
Following Thursday’s exhibition game in Las Vegas, the U.S. team will head to Washington, D.C., to train July 13-15 and play an exhibition against Brazil at the Verizon Center on July 16.
The U.S. men’s team will continue their preparations July 17-18 in Manchester, England, and on July 19 will play Britain.
Twenty years after the USA Dream Team made its debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the U.S. returns to the Spanish city to conclude their tour with a pair of exhibition games against Argentina on July 22 and Spain on July 24.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue