Things have turned from bad to worse for the struggling Portland Trail Blazers. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Blazers superstar Damian Lillard is expected to undergo surgery that could sideline him between six and eight weeks.
Lillard aggravated an abdominal injury back in the summer while playing for Team USA and never fully recovered. The injury has been a lingering issue for the All-Star guard in the 2021-22 NBA season and caused his production to take a significant dip. After weighing his options, Lillard decided to have the procedure as he believes this will give him the best chance to return to the All-NBA form from last season.
Windhorst added in his report that the surgery date and timetable for Lillard’s return would be determined by the end of the week following further medical consultations.
If the reports turn out to be accurate, then we might not see Damian Lillard play again this season. The Trail Blazers are already in the lottery with a 16-24 record, and it’s hard to see them turning things around without Lillard. Once he returns, it will probably be too late for any postseason push, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Portland decides to shut down their best player and turn focus to 2022-23.
Lillard averaged 24.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per contest in 29 games he played this season. While these would be more than solid numbers, they are well below the bar Lillard set in recent years. He also struggled with efficiency, shooting career lows from the floor (40.2 percent) and beyond the arc (32.4 percent).