Portland has lost three in a row with Damian Lillard out of the lineup, stretching their skid to 6-of-7 overall, and now the team will be without CJ McCollum indefinitely after he suffered a collapsed lung. The Trail Blazers have the worst defense in the NBA, coach Chauncey Billups is frustrated with the team’s effort level, and if the postseason started today the Trail Blazers would barely make the play-in as the 10 seed (and they are in danger of falling below that spot in the standings). All that without even mentioning Portland’s off-the-court issues.
The lone ray of sunshine in it all — Lillard could return this weekend from the lower abdominal tendinopathy that has sidelined him, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (who is close to Lillard).
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard underwent a cortisone injection procedure to the abdominal and could return to action as early as Sunday, league sources tell @YahooSports. https://t.co/ryitBncklo
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) December 8, 2021
Lillard had the shot and will be re-evaluated Friday, meaning he could play Sunday against the Timberwolves, according to the report.
Lillard has been battling the abdominal issue for months, and we saw it during the Tokyo Olympics, where he was not his vintage self. It has been the same to start this NBA season. Lillard averages 21.5 points a game (it was 28.8 last season), and he is shooting 30.2% from 3 (down from 39.1%).
Getting a cortisone shot should reduce the pain and inflammation Lillard is feeling. Which is good, the Blazers need him to return to his All-NBA form if this season is going to be salvaged.