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Blake Griffin is back: Nets newest star likely to debut Sunday vs. Wizards

Brooklyn Nets v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Nets released their injury report and for the first time since he joined Brooklyn on March 7. It was also be the first time the six-time All-Star will have suited up since the Pistons sat him down following a game on February 12.

There was no commentary on the Nets PR status report but pre game Friday, Steve Nash addressed Griffin’s progress ... in glowing terms.

“I don’t know but I think he is getting closer and he’s doing great,: . “He looks good, is improving, and is working hard off the floor as well,” Nash said. “I think he is addressing all of the things he needed to address to land safely back in the game and transition into our team, which is not always easy. You don’t want to take that for granted. He has to adapt to the way that we play, new teammates, new system, and new style. He is doing everything you can ask for.

“Just his presence is important because he is an intelligent, mature, and experienced player. We are looking forward to having him back. I don’t know when that will be but it’s coming. He does look really good right now.”

Two days earlier, Nash said that Griffin was working with the Nets vaunted performance team every day to deal with the “physical deficiencies” of his left knee, which underwent arthroscopic surgery in April 2019. Nash also said that Griffin, who turned 32 on Tuesday, was healthy enough play but that the Nets wanted him to follow a performance team regimen.

On Thursday, Blake himself appeared on “Pardon My Take” from the Barstool Sports network. In what was a wildly fun show, Griffin gave his thoughts on a topic that’s been discussed into the ground on the internet: Can he still dunk? For reference, Blake hasn’t dunked in an NBA game in 464 days (and counting!).

Blake’s response was, well, see for yourself.

“You want some breaking news? I have dunked and I have played 5-on-5,” said Blake Griffin with a deadpan, before going onto explain that his dearth of dunks can also be attributed to playing in just 19 total games since the year 2019.

His best game came at the end of January when the Pistons upset the Lakers and BG scored 23 points on 5-of-10 from deep, grabbed three rebounds and added six assists ... but didn’t have a signature dunk.

Griffin also told People Magazine on Friday that his buyout from the Pistons — which cost him $13.3 million — had to happen and he’s happy in Brooklyn.

“It’s time for a change and I’m looking forward to it,” Griffin said. “It’s been great so far, and honestly I’m just looking forward to getting out there and competing and playing basketball.”

Two years ago, before he underwent surgery to cure knee soreness, he averaged those type of numbers over 72 games, putting up 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists leading the Pistons to the playoffs and being named third team All-NBA.

So, will we see Griffin break his dunking fast Sunday? Kyrie Irving said he’s ready for the debut.

“I’m super excited,” Irving said Friday of the prospect. “It’s just high-level talent out there. So, when you can just prepare for the game and go over the X’s and O’s, you can look to your left and right and know the guys next to you have your back and you’re able to play at a high level offensively and defensively and make an impact. I look forward to it, for sure. As a competitor wanting to be on the main stage, we want all our guys healthy.”

The game is on YES and NBA TV.