Damian Lillard is on the injured list again this season with what the Portland Trail Blazers call lower abdominal tendinopathy. That same injury forced him to miss five games at the end of November, and now Portland expects him to miss at least the next three games as he undergoes further evaluation, and his status will be updated on the next day. next week.
Lillard was absent in the Blazers’ 136-131 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, in which Anfernee Simons scored 43 points to avoid a career night at Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young, who scored a personal best of 56 points. . The last time Lillard ran out of time with this injury, he needed a cortisone injection in his abdomen to get back to court. He played a total of nine games before returning to the injured list.
The injury dates back to his time with the United States in their race for the gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Lillard reportedly played the entire tournament with an abdominal injurybecause he wanted to help the team win gold. Considering he’s missed time twice now with the same injury, it looks like the problem hasn’t healed properly, which is a huge blow to the Blazers.
The start of this season has not been ideal for Portland, as it is 14-22, good for 12th in a crowded Western Conference. Injuries to Lillard and CJ McCollum, the latter of which has not played since Dec. 6 due to a collapsed lung, have resulted in the Blazers racking up losses at a rapid rate. Add to that the fact that they’ve had players in and out of COVID protocols similar to the rest of the league, and it’s safe to say the navigation has been anything but smooth for Portland.
Now that team will have to endure another game streak without Lillard, with the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings all scheduled for the next stop on the calendar. Ideally, the Trail Blazers would want Lillard to return as soon as possible to help turn things around quickly, but given that this will be the second time this season that he’s been battling the same injury this season, it would be wise for Portland to take his time to bring Lillard back until he is 100 percent healthy.
We’ve seen this team struggle out of the gates over the past few seasons and manage to land a playoff berth, or at the very least get a play-in offer. They’re also just one loss from last place in the play-ins, so it’s definitely time to move up the standings. So if that means Lillard is missing more than three games to be healthier a few weeks later, that could be the safest path for the All-Star guard and the Blazers.