The Portland Trail Blazers will be without Evan Turner for some time. Portland’s big, $70 million free agent signing this summer fractured his third metacarpal in his right hand in a game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
The injury appeared to occur at the 7:45 mark in the third quarter. Turner was running from right-to-left with Devin Harris and was caught in the hand by the elbow of Harrison Barnes as he was trying to fight through a screen.
It’s hard to tell at this point what a return date for Turner would be. Metacarpal fractures have some history in the NBA, but the recovery time from surgery is all over the map with most players returning on average in a 6-8 week window after the injury.
Turner said after the game that doctors have initially told him he might not even need surgery, calling it a “janky injury”. Turner added that his main issue was numbness and trying to grip the ball, and that his return schedule might be based on his pain tolerance.
The offense will definitely change for the Blazers from here on out. Allen Crabbe will likely get more run in different lineups, and the backcourt of Lillard and McCollum will need to handle the ball essentially at all times. It’s possible we see more of Shabazz Napier as well, and coach Terry Stotts has been fond of running out end of bench players like Pat Connaughton in certain situations.
Portland needed everything to go right just to make the playoffs this year. They stand at 9th in the Western Conference and it’s uncertain what their future will be if Turner is out for a couple of months.
The Blazers do hold their own first round pick this year, as well as Cleveland’s. The “tank and miss the Golden State Warriors” crowd in Oregon will no doubt hope this improves their draft position.