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Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

No. 1 pick out 6 weeks with injury to knee

LOS ANGELES (AP) Blake Griffin's NBA debut has been pushed back indefinitely after the Los Angeles Clippers revealed late Monday night that their No. 1 overall draft pick has a broken left kneecap.

News photo
New season dawns: Boston's Kevin Garnett takes a shot at practice on Monday in Waltham, Mass. The Celtics open the NBA regular season against Cleveland on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

The stress fracture could sideline the Oklahoma star for six weeks, the team announced, promising further information Tuesday.

Griffin, who averaged 13.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game during the preseason, won't be in the Clippers' lineup when they face the Lakers in their opener Tuesday night, and he could be out much longer. The Clippers play 20 games in their first six weeks of the regular season.

Griffin apparently broke his kneecap during the Clippers' final exhibition game against New Orleans last Friday, perhaps after a dunk that left the power forward wincing in pain. The team initially said Griffin only had a sore left knee, making him questionable for the opener, before revealing the break.

Griffin was the consensus college player of the year with 22.7 points and an NCAA-best 14.4 rebounds per game last season for the Sooners.

After the Clippers won the draft lottery and selected him, Griffin strained his right shoulder during a summer league game in July. The team brought him back cautiously, and Griffin said he was totally healthy in the preseason.

Barkley eyes GM post

NEW YORK (AP) Charles Barkley thinks he can do better than some of the general managers he criticizes on television.

The Hall of Fame player and TNT analyst said Monday he would like the chance to run an NBA team, though he's in no rush because he would want the right job.

"I think that it'd be fun to try to build my own team," Barkley said at a luncheon, joined by studio partners Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. "We talk about it all the time. Sometimes we say, 'What is that guy doing? Why did he draft that guy? Why did he make a trade for that guy?'

"Some of these guys have done a bad job, plain and simple."

Barkley was critical of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who under new team president David Kahn took point guards with the Nos. 5-6 picks in the draft, then signed point guard Ramon Sessions in free agency. He compared the Wolves' draft strategy to when the Detroit Lions kept spending high draft picks on wide receivers.

The 46-year-old Barkley planned to do TV for only a couple of years, but is now in his 10th season with TNT. He's in no hurry to leave for a team executive job that opened up, because some of them wouldn't give him an opportunity to be successful.

"Every job ain't a good job," said Barkley, who said he wouldn't take any position unless he was given complete control of basketball decisions, because some owners aren't interested in winning.

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