The Portland Trail Blazers have been without their best player for the last week. On Dec. 1, the Blazers announced that an MRI confirmed All-Star guard Damian Lillard has lower abdominal tendinopathy. Lillard was initially expected to miss at least 10 days, but after a cortisone injection to his abdomen, he could return as soon as Sunday according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Lillard initially missed Portland's 110-92 win over the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 30 in order to manage the injury, which he has been dealing with since Olympic play over the offseason.
Here's the statement from the Blazers:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirms Portland guard Damian Lillard with lower abdominal tendinopathy, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Lillard will continue his recovery protocol and be re-evaluated in 10 days.
Through 20 games (all starts) this season, Lillard is averaging 21.5 points (39.7% FG, 30.2% 3-PT, 91.1% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 35.7 minutes for the Trail Blazers.
In Lillard's absence, Anfernee Simons has slid into the starting point guard spot for Portland, while Dennis Smith Jr. has seen an uptick in minutes. With CJ McCollum sidelined as well with a collapsed lung, the Blazers will need all of the ball-handling they can get.
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The Blazers currently sit 10th in the Western Conference with an 11-14 record, and now they've started December 0-3 without Lillard. Portland hosts Golden State on Wednesday night as Stephen Curry eyes Ray Allen's 3-point record.