Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum suffered an injury to his left knee on Thursday night and will undergo an MRI. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Update (12:58 PM Friday): The Blazers have announced that Batum's MRI came back negative. The team said that Batum "has a bone contusion and is listed as day to day." Another bullet dodged for the Blazers.
Yes, you've heard this story from Portland before: a key member of the Trail Blazers is set to undergo an MRI on his knee after injuring it. This time around, it's starting small forward Nicolas Batum, who injured his left knee while defending Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce on Thursday night. Batum is set to undergo an MRI on Friday morning.
The injury occurred during second quarter action, as Batum back-pedaled while Pierce drove hard to the hoop. There was no apparent contact and Batum never left the ground. Nevertheless, he was in immediate pain after the play and the Blazers were forced to take a timeout to remove him from the game. He exited the court, limping, and headed straight for the locker room.
Here's a look at the video.
After the game, Batum, who appeared to be in a bit of shock or disbelief, was adamant that the injury will not require surgery. "I'm OK, Batum said. "Not worried. No surgery. I'm sure I won't get surgery. I'm sure. I know my body. I've had a couple of surgeries before. I know when I need surgery. For my shoulder, I knew I was going to need surgery. When I broke my foot five years ago, I knew I would need surgery."
However, Batum was unable to flex his left leg much and he used crutches -- which he said were precautionary -- to leave the arena. Batum admitted that there was some swelling on his knee but said it was just "a little bit."
Asked to describe how the injury happened, Batum replied, "I tried to block Paul Pierce, I tried to jump, I couldn't jump, I don't know why and I felt something stretch in my knee."
Portland has undergone an unprecedented rash of knee injuries this season. Center Greg Oden, guard Elliot Williams and former big man Jeff Pendergraph, who was released, all underwent season-ending knee surgeries since the start of training camp. All-Star guard Brandon Roy is out indefinitely after undergoing dual arthroscopic knee surgeries and center Marcus Camby is out for a few weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month.
The Blazers did dodge one bullet this week, as power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, by far the team's best remaining healthy player, got good news on an MRI and X-rays taken on his sore right hip, as they revealed only a contusion.
Batum, a third-year player from France, starts at small forward and is averaging 12 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31 minutes per game so far this season. He mised much of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.