(Reuters) - Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has quashed the persistent rumors surrounding Blake Griffin's future by insisting that the injured power forward was definitely staying with the Western Conference team on Tuesday. Thursday marks the NBA's trade deadline day and with the five-time All-Star sidelined through injury and a subsequent ban, there has been media speculation that the Clippers could offload one of their biggest names and move in a new direction. "I've told you we're not trading Blake," Rivers told reporters prior to team practice. "I guess everyone else wants to keep (saying) that, so we'll let them do it. We receive phone calls about every single player, honestly, but it does frustrate me when you hear all that speculation and all that stuff. It's completely untrue." Griffin has been out of action since Dec. 26 because of a quad injury and a broken hand sustained in an altercation with a Clippers equipment manager last month. The incident has earned Griffin a four-game suspension which takes effect once he is healthy enough to play.
He personally addressed the incident for the first time on Tuesday, saying he was "truly, truly sorry". "It's something I think about every day and wish I could take it back," Griffin said.
"But now (that it's over) and I have my punishment, I'm looking forward to just moving on and moving past this and getting back on the court with our team mates." Griffin will remain sidelined when the Clippers return from the All-Star Break to host San Antonio on Thursday. The Clippers (35-18), fourth in the Western Conference, have gone 18-5 in his absence.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)