Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports:

March 5, 2010 Los Angeles, CA..Clippers' Blake Griffin, who is out for the season with a knee injury after becoming the 2009 first overall pick of the NBA Draft, participates in the pregame shoot around before the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Oklahoma City defeated the Clippers, 104-87.

Smith was asked if Griffin was 98.9% back after having missed all of last season because of a stress fracture in his left kneecap.

“159.7531 percent,” he said, smiling. “Blake’s looking real good. He’s determined. I’m happy for him. Happy he’s back on the court. You know he’s going to do some special things this year.”

A few minutes later, he got much more specific about Griffin’s considerable talents.

“I can say this. I never played against Karl Malone,” Smith said. “But he has the strength of Karl Malone but can run and jump like LeBron James.

“He can definitely make LeBron plays, defensively. Out in the open, he can make something special happen. He’s kind of like a specialist. He has the best of both worlds. The physical strength, the power and he can run like a deer.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was running a 40-yard dash with a car in the way, if he wouldn’t hurt the car versus hurting himself.”

Smith, who had off-season knee surgery, came out near the end of practice because of a tight back, Coach Vinny Del Negro said.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Don’t be surprised to see Griffin average around 17 points and eight or nine rebounds this season. And that may be a conservative estimate.

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