Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers had a bad loss on Tuesday. They took on the lowly Mavericks in Dallas, which should have been an easy victory for a top team like Portland, but the Mavericks came out on top 115-109.
Making things worse for Portland, Damian Lillard sprained his ankle toward the end of the game. He managed to play through the injury and finish out the game, but the ankle swelled up after the game. He was later seen being taken out of the arena on a cart. There was concern that the injury could be severe, but according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports, Lillard will be listed as day to day.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is day-to-day with left ankle injury and is expected to miss Thursday's game in Houston, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 4, 2018
The Blazers don't have much reason to rush Lillard back into play in the regular season.They have four games left and he's already missing the game against Houston. It wouldn't be a surprise if Portland lets him use this injury as a chance to rest up before the playoffs. The playoffs are clinched and there's no need to rush back. Lillard even said postgame that he needs to be smart about how the injury is handled. via NBC Sports Northwest.
"I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I'm going to be smart about it,'' Lillard said. "It's the end of the season, we are going into the playoffs, so I have to be smart that one thing doesn't turn into another.''
Portland actually finishes the season with a pretty brutal schedule. They have the Rockets, Spurs, Nuggets, and Jazz with those first three games being played on the road. They have a sizable lead on the rest of the conference for the three seed, but there is a chance a healthy Lillard could come back for seeding purposes.
However, if Lillard isn't 100 percent, then it would be a surprise to see him back on the floor before the playoffs. Portland knows what games matter at this point and it's not these final regular season games. It's the ones being played on April 14.