Damian Lillard has started all 275 of the Trail Blazers’ games since they drafted him.
But his plantar fasciitis will end that streak.
If that weren’t enough, Portland also loses C.J. McCollum to injury.
The Trail Blazers’ starting backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum has been ruled out of Monday’s game in Atlanta because of injuries suffered in Sunday’s loss at Miami, the team announced.
Lillard, who has never missed an NBA game in his three-plus seasons, will be sidelined because of plantar fasciitis in his left heel.
McCollum, the team’s second leading scorer, will sit because of what the team is calling bilateral ankle sprains.
Lillard is unquestionably Portland’s top player, McCollum probably ranks second. The Trail Blazers have played just 17 minutes all season with neither on the court – a mark they’ll double in the second quarter tonight.
Obviously, this is uncomfortable territory for the team.
Scoring will be particularly challenging. Lillard (24.6) and McCollum (20.1) are the only Trail Blazers averaging more than 11 points per game. And that’s with Lillard’s and McCollum’s playmaking capabilities. Most of Portland’s next-best players need someone to set them up.
Look for Gerald Henderson to move into the starting lineup and play a much bigger role, a necessary – though far from desirable – strategy.