Back in late January, LaMarcus Aldridge injured his thumb and needed surgery, something that would sideline him at least eight weeks. Aldridge considered his thumb pain, considered where the Trail Blazers were (they were a dark horse title contender until Wesley Matthews tore his Achilles) and decided to play through it.
Now that the Blazers’ season was over (they were eliminated in the first round by Memphis) it was time for the surgery, which Aldridge had Monday, the team announced. From the official press release:
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge underwent successful surgery today to repair the injured radial collateral ligament of his left thumb. Dr. Thomas J. Graham performed the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Aldridge is expected to be out eight weeks, which would have him back in time for training camp.
This is in no way going to slow the free agent recruitment of Aldridge.
He is one of the handful of best power forwards in the game and will get a max offer from Portland, but can also expect calls from the Spurs, Mavericks, Knicks, Lakers and others. There are rumors he might consider a return to his native Texas — if Gregg Popovich calls and says, “How would you like to play for me, next to Kawhi Leonard and contend for four years?” you have to listen.
Does Aldridge want to go down as one of the great Blazers of all time, someone loyal to the franchise, or does he think his best shot at a ring is elsewhere? The only thing we know for sure is that this surgery will not impact that decision.