The Trail Blazers will be down a starter for Game 1 of their first-round series against the top-seeded Lakers on Tuesday. Power forward Zach Collins will sit out due to left ankle inflammation, Marc J. Spears of ESPN tweets. Wenyen Gabriel will start in Collins’ place.
Collins, who missed most of the season after undergoing left shoulder surgery, appeared in all eight of the seeding games for the Trail Blazers. He averaged 6.3 PPG and 7.1 RPG in those outings.
We have more from around the Western Conference:
- Thunder wing Luguentz Dort is unlikely to play in their opener against Houston on Tuesday due to a knee sprain, Royce Young of ESPN tweets. However, head coach Billy Donovan said Dort is progressing well, which suggests the rookie will play in the series. Dort was injured against Miami on Wednesday. He could be a key defensive factor against the small-ball Rockets.
- DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs have some tough decisions to make regarding his future, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. DeRozan must decide by October 13 whether to exercise his $27.7MM option for next season. That won’t necessarily mean DeRozan will remain with the club. He could get traded, whether or not he opts it. The club could also work out an extension with DeRozan or decide during next season whether to extend or trade him if he opts in.
- Lakers superstar LeBron James believes this will be his most difficult playoff run, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. James sees a number of challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and the league being forced to play in a neutral venue. “As far as me locking in on an opponent and individuals, that hasn’t changed. What’s different is this is the environment, not home,” he said. “Not with my family, not in my own bed, I’m not in our own practice facility. I’m not preparing to be at Staples [Center] tomorrow with our fans. I’m not with a lot of things that’s essential to my everyday regimen.”