After undergoing a second MRI on Tuesday, star guard Damian Lillard has been diagnosed with a right knee sprain and will miss Game 5 against the Lakers on Wednesday, the Trail Blazers announced today (Twitter link).
With the Lakers holding a 3-1 lead over Portland in the first-round series, it’s possible we won’t see Lillard return to action again this season — the Blazers figure to be significant underdogs on Wednesday with Lillard out and backcourt mate CJ McCollum still playing through a fracture in his back.
Lillard has been one of the NBA’s standout players since the season resumed in July. He earned bubble MVP honors by averaging 37.6 PPG and 9.6 APG on .497/.436/.888 shooting in the Blazers’ eight seeding games, then led the team to a win over Memphis in the Western Conference play-in game. However, after claiming the No. 8 seed and upsetting the Lakers in Game 1, Portland has seemed to run out of gas.
Following his scorching-hot start this summer, Lillard has slowed down over the last three games, which can be attributed at least in part to health issues. Before injuring his knee in Game 4, the All-Star guard dislocated his left index finger in Game 2.