Damian Lillard has been battling the same abdominal issue for months now. We saw it most clearly during the Tokyo Olympics, where we went in talking about a Kevin Durant/Lillard-led Team USA. However, we only saw flashes of the Logo Lillard we expected to dominate in international competition (he still helped the USA win gold).
Then Lillard started this NBA season slowly. He’s averaging 21.5 points a game, down from 28.8 last season (and 30 the season before that). More concerning, he is shooting 30.2% from 3 (down from 39.1%), and he hasn’t been moving with the same bursts and quickness. Lillard clearly hasn’t been right.
Now comes the word the Blazers’ all-everything guard will be out at least 10 days due to lower abdominal tendinopathy. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis, the team announced. Lillard may need more than 10 days to get himself right.
Lower abdominal tendinopathy is a strain or damage to the tendon that connects the rectus abdominis muscle that runs down the center of your abdomen (your six-pack muscle) to the pelvic bone. That injury causes pain that is felt just above the groin/genital area.
More weight will fall on the shoulders of CJ McCollum, who will try to keep the 11-11 Trail Blazers afloat and in the playoff/play-in mix in the West (they sit 10th in the West heading into Wednesday night). Portland has been 3.8 points per 100 possessions better with Lillard on the court this season. Anfernee Simons is expected to start for Portland in Lillard’s spot and Dennis Smith Jr. could see some extra run.