Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard “feels good” after having surgery for an abdominal injury this morning, and the timeline for him to be reevaluated has been shortened, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
The next evaluation of Lillard’s condition is now set for five-to-six weeks instead of the original projection of six to eight weeks. Whether he plays any more this year will depend on how he responds after the operation and whether Portland has a realistic chance to qualify for the playoffs.
Lillard said the injury has been bothering him for years and he considered surgery during the offseason. Instead, he participated in the Olympics, where he aggravated the condition, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
A six-time All-Star, Lillard’s numbers across the board have fallen this season. He’s averaging 24 PPG, his lowest scoring average since the 2014/15 season, while shooting 40.2% from the field and 32.4% from three-point range, both career lows.
Because Lillard’s absence will stretch past the February 10 trade deadline, Portland will face some difficult decisions over the next four weeks. Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic, who both have expiring contracts, are candidates to be moved, and the Blazers may listen to offers for CJ McCollum, who has been sidelined for nearly six weeks after suffering a collapsed lung.
Portland is holding on to the final play-in spot in the West at 16-24, one game ahead of the Kings and a game and a half in front of the Spurs and Pelicans.