Wednesday, August 17 2022
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The Portland Trail Blazers will be without their best player for the next few games, at least. On Wednesday, the Blazers announced that an MRI confirmed All-Star guard Damian Lillard has lower abdominal tendinopathy. As a result, Lillard will be sidelined and re-evaluated in 10 days. 

Lillard missed Portland’s 110-92 win over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday in order to manage the injury, which he has been dealing with since Olympic play over the offseason. 

Here’s the statement from the Blazers: 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirms Portland guard Damian Lillard with lower abdominal tendinopathy, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Lillard will continue his recovery protocol and be re-evaluated in 10 days.

Through 20 games (all starts) this season, Lillard is averaging 21.5 points (39.7% FG, 30.2% 3-PT, 91.1% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 35.7 minutes for the Trail Blazers.

In Lillard’s absence, Anfernee Simons will likely slide into the starting point guard spot for Portland, while Dennis Smith Jr. will also likely see an uptick in minutes. Perhaps CJ McCollum will take on some additional ball-handling and play-making duties as well. 

The Blazers currently sit 10th in the Western Conference with an 11-11 record, and now they’ll have to try to stay afloat without Lillard. Portland has six games over the next two weeks, beginning with a home matchup against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. They’ll then host the Boston Celtics on Saturday night and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. After that, they’ll travel to face the Golden State Warriors before returning home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns. If Portland can win at least half of those games in Lillard’s absence, they should be able to stay alive in the playoff picture in the West. 



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