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January 15, 2008

Sooners' star freshman could miss four weeks

NORMAN, Okla. Oklahoma freshman standout Blake Griffin could miss as much as four weeks after spraining a ligament in his left knee.

Sooners coach Jeff Capel said Tuesday that Griffin had an MRI on his knee and will not need surgery on the sprained medial collateral ligament he injured in the Sooners' 85-55 loss at No. 3 Kansas a night earlier.

The 6-foot-10 forward leads Oklahoma in scoring (15.4) and rebounding (9.1) this season.

"We're very glad it's not season-ending or career-threatening," Capel said. "But it's a huge blow to our team. Blake is our leading scorer and rebounder, and has been playing his best basketball. He was really starting to become the dominant player that we knew he could be."

Griffin had been named the Big 12's freshman of the week after scoring 53 points in two previous games.

The injury is an even bigger blow for the Sooners (12-5, 0-2 Big 12) after backup Keith Clark was declared academically ineligible last week. With Griffin out and Clark gone, the Sooners ended up playing walk-on Beau Gerber in the loss to the Jayhawks as a backup to forwards Longar Longar and Taylor Griffin, Blake's older brother.

"Blake's injury affects our frontcourt depth, but it also presents an opportunity for other guys to step up. They have to be ready," Capel said. "We're not going to make any excuses."

Griffin said he felt a pop in the knee when he came back down wrong after trying for a rebound. He had already been playing through a shoulder injury.

The Sooners host Texas Tech in their next game Saturday.

For more coverage of Oklahoma, visit SoonerScoop.com.

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