Anfernee Simons could return to action on Wednesday for the first time since the Trail Blazers’ opener.
Simons is listed as questionable for Portland’s game against Golden State, Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report tweets. Head coach Chauncey Billups said on Monday that he’s hoping to have the guard available for the Blazers’ next game, per Casey Holdahl (Twitter link).
Simons suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb in the season-opening loss at the Clippers. He then underwent surgery on Oct. 31 with a general timetable of six weeks, so he’s a little bit ahead of schedule.
Simons is in the second season of a four-year, $100MM contract. He also missed a good chunk of time each of the past two seasons due to various injuries, appearing in 119 of a possible 164 games.
Simons has developed into an explosive scorer when healthy, averaging a career-high 21.1 points last season while posting a .447/.377/.894 shooting slash line. He also averaged a career-best 4.1 assists.
With Simons, second-year wing Shaedon Sharpe has played an average of 37 minutes per contest, averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
Toumani Camara, a rookie second-rounder, has also gotten a chance to shine. He’s started in 10 of 19 games, averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 24.9 minutes.
Simons was considered a major trade chip this past summer, prior to the Damian Lillard blockbuster. His return will give Portland’s front office a full-fledged opportunity to evaluate which young players are keepers in the long term.