Clippers' Blake Griffin (left MCL) cleared to return against Lakers

— -- LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin will return Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, his first game in more than a month because of a sprained left MCL, head coach Doc Rivers said.

Rivers said Griffin's minutes would be monitored during Friday's game.

"We're not going to play him 40 minutes tonight -- I shouldn't even say that -- but obviously we don't just want to throw him in there and say, 'You're normal,'" Rivers said. "We'll monitor him, more with our eyes than with a minute count."

Griffin, a five-time All-Star, had been practicing with the Clippers this week and was assigned to the G League's Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario on Wednesday.

Rivers said Griffin "just looked normal" on the court this week.

"When a lot of guys come back, you can see a limp, you can see something," Rivers said. "He looked normal. He had a great practice yesterday.

"You could see in one day he was already reassured with his ballhandling. What I was surprised by was that he had a couple of dunks. He looked normal, and I think that was surprising to me."

Griffin last played on Nov. 27 in a win over the Lakers, a game he left after becoming tangled with Clippers guard Austin Rivers and Lakers guard Lonzo Ball in pursuit of a loose ball.

Before being sidelined, Griffin, who signed a five-year, $173 million contract during the offseason, was averaging 23.6 points per game with a true shooting percentage of 54.2, along with 7.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists.