- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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"It's not too bad," Griffin said at his locker after the Clippers' 112-105 defeat, wearing an ice pack on his left elbow.
With the Clippers down four after blowing an early 15-point lead, Griffin landed hard in the paint on his elbow with 42.5 seconds to go in the third quarter after
a foul by Dallas' Brendan Haywood as he rose to the basket on a driving reverse
. Haywood was assessed a Flagrant Foul-Penalty 1.
After being fitted with a sleeve over the elbow on the Clippers' bench, Griffin played a labored 4:09 in the fourth quarter, managing just one point before exiting with 4:31 to play and with Dallas' lead up to 105-89.
Griffin finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 34th double-double of his rookie season. Yet after finding out earlier in the day that leading scorer Eric Gordon will miss three to four weeks with a chipped bone in his wrist, L.A. left the American Airlines Center with a measure of relief when X-rays after the game only revealed a left elbow contusion.
Asked before X-rays were reported as negative if he was worried, Griffin offered a dismissive "nah."
"We'll see how it is tomorrow," Griffin said.
The Clippers have frequently voiced concern with the hard hits Griffin routinely takes from opposing defenders, but Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro declined to make an issue of Haywood's foul.
"Those things are going to happen," Del Negro said. "Blake's around the basket and he's always going to attack all the time and guys don't want him to finish. We should take a book out of that, too. When guys are around our basket, we need to do the same thing.
"They've got a bunch of length up there. They're a veteran team and [protecting the rim is] what you're supposed to do."
Haywood, however, doesn't even think he should have been called for a flagrant foul.
"No, that's not a flagrant foul," Haywood told ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan. "I feel the NBA should give my money back for that one. It was one of those plays, I just grabbed his arm. He's just so athletic and strong that he was still trying to finish the play and he ends up basically not protecting himself.
"On those type of plays he has to realize, 'All right, I got fouled, just throw it at the rim and come down.' Protect yourself for the next play. Every play can't be a dunk-contest dunk."
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
8dEthan Sherwood Strauss