Damian Lillard, who injured his right groin in the final game before the All-Star break last week, won’t be ready to return when the Trail Blazers resume play on Friday. After not practicing today, Lillard said he thinks he may miss three or four games, per Casey Holdahl (Twitter link).
When Lillard first went down with the injury, which sidelined him for All-Star weekend, it was diagnosed as a strain, with an expected recovery timeline of at least a week or two. If the star point guard can return after exactly two weeks, it will put him in line to make it back for Portland’s game in Indiana next Thursday, the team’s fourth post-All-Star contest.
With Lillard on the shelf, CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons figure to take on more ball-handling responsibilities in upcoming home games against the Pelicans (Friday), Pistons (Sunday), and Celtics (next Tuesday).
Leading up to the All-Star break, Lillard had a 17-game stretch in which he averaged 35.5 PPG and was the team’s leading scorer in all 17 games — Portland will need him back soon to stay in the postseason hunt.
Although the Blazers hold the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, they’re four full games back of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, including five in the loss column, so they don’t have much margin for error as they push for a playoff spot.