The (expected/feared) diagnosis is in.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Damian Lillard is planning to have surgery in the near future to address a lingering abdominal injury, sources told ESPN. The procedure isn't expected to be season-ending but that is to be determined.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 12, 2022
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will undergo surgery tomorrow to address his abdomen injury and he will be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks, league sources @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 12, 2022
The Trail Blazers are just 16-24 and 10th in the Western Conference. Three teams – Spurs, Kings and Pelicans – are within 1.5 games overtaking Portland for that final play-in spot. C.J. McCollum remains sidelined by his own injury.
By the time Lillard is ready to return, the Trail Blazers might be out of the postseason race. At that point, it’d be increasingly likely Lillard would just sit the rest of the season.
Either way, Portland must evaluate the long-term health of the 31-year-old who could seek a massive contract extension this summer.