The Western Conference playoffs might not be the gauntlet we expected.
Sure, it’s still a very strong field, but it won’t be filled with eight dominant teams.
The Trail Blazers are stumbling with Wesley Matthews and maybe Dorell Wright out for the season and Arron Afflalo also sidelined. The Mavericks haven’t clicked with Rajon Rondo. The Thunder – if they even make it – aren’t a historically dangerous No. 8 seed without Kevin Durant (not to mention Serge Ibaka’s own injury troubles). The Pelicans would be a good, though hardly vaunted, No. 8 seed.
And the Grizzlies’ starters haven’t thrived with Jeff Green. Another problem in Memphis: Injuries to Mike Conley and Tony Allen.
Ronald Tilley of The Commercial Appeal:
Joerger says Allen and Conley couldn't play if tonight was a playoff game. There's no timetable for their return. http://t.co/wYRV1ZumuM
The Thunder beat the Blazers on Monday night, keeping themselves alive in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. That part didn’t have much drama. But the Blazers suffered two more injuries to rotation players when they least afford them.
Nicolas Batum was helped off the court in the first quarter after suffering an apparent knee injury:
And C.J. McCollum suffered an ankle sprain in the second quarter:
The Blazers were already scraping for depth on the wing, with season-ending injuries to Wesley Matthews and Dorell Wright. Arron Afflalo is also out with a shoulder injury. McCollum had been playing well in increased minutes, so the Blazers have to hope this injury isn’t serious. Otherwise, they’re going to have virtually no depth and hope that the likes of Allen Crabbe and Tim Frazier can suffice against the Clippers, Rockets or Grizzlies. (Spoiler alert: that’s unlikely.)
More wing injuries for Trail Blazers: Dorell Wright breaks hand
Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand in Wednesday night’s 126-122 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Trail Blazers announced.
X-Rays confirmed the fracture and the timetable for Wright’s return remains indefinite.
Healing time on this type of injury is anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but other measures can allow for increased mobilization, which is why there has not been a determined timetable for Wright’s return from injury.
Pain from this type of injury is generally very mild, according to these same medical journals, and does not require heavy medication outside of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Jabari Young of CSN Northwest:
Dorell Wright just told me if he can play through the injury, he will. Expects to find out more info in a few days #Blazers
Portland had a chance to win a title with Matthews, and the team could still make major noise in the playoffs if everything breaks right. These players are committed to maximizing the chances of that happening.
If Wright misses time, expect Alonzo Gee and Allen Crabbe to play more. C.J. McCollum could also see more time in three-guard lineups.
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