Forward Nassir Little exited Tuesday’s loss to the Clippers with what was initially deemed a right hip strain. Further imaging revealed that Little had sustained a mild femoral head impaction fracture, and he’s expected to miss six weeks, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release.
Little, 22, signed a four-year, $28MM rookie scale extension before the 2022/23 season started (it kicks in next season). Through 21 games (15.3 minutes per night) for Portland, he’s averaging 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds on .473/.372/.667 shooting.
Part of the reason Little accepted a relatively team-friendly deal is because he wanted “security” and “peace of mind.” But he also admitted that his injury history had played a factor.
“I’m not gonna lie, I think my talent level is worth more than that,” Little said of his $28MM contract. “But with me having an injury history, and them still taking a chance on me, I want to be here. I’ll probably perform at a level that’s worth more than that, but being in Portland is what I want.”
Little was having a breakout third season in ’21/22 but it came to an early end when he underwent surgery on February 1 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. In May, he underwent abdominal surgery to repair a core muscle injury.
Overall, he averaged 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds on .460/.331/.734 shooting in 42 games (25.9 MPG) last season.
The Blazers are dealing with several injured players at the moment (Twitter link). In addition to Little, second-year guard Keon Johnson (left hip pointer), star guard Damian Lillard (right soleus strain), and guard Gary Payton II (return to competition conditioning) are out Saturday at Utah, while wing Josh Hart (left ankle sprain) is doubtful and center Drew Eubanks (right hip contusion) is questionable.
Lillard is reportedly targeting a Sunday return at home against Indiana.
Payton, a key free agent addition, has yet to play this season after undergoing core muscle surgery in September. It was initially thought that he’d be available for the start of the regular season, but his progress has been slower than anticipated. The last update on his status was two weeks ago.
Portland had a great start to the season, going 10-4, but has lost seven of its past eight games to currently hold an 11-11 record, the 10th seed in the West.