Damian Lillard will leave the NBA campus in Orlando on Thursday & return to Portland for further examination of his injured right knee. Lillard's availability to return to the Orlando campus is yet to be determined. Further updates will be provided as necessary.— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) August 27, 2020
Lillard injured his knee during the Blazers’ Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. During the third quarter, Lillard pulled up for a shot but landed awkwardly on his right knee. He left the game to get an MRI and didn’t return, and after a second MRI on Tuesday he was diagnosed with a knee sprain. Because it’s a non-contact injury, the Blazers are likely being extra careful and thorough with their star by sending him back to Portland for further evaluation.
Lillard was already out for Game 5 against the Lakers, but his trip to Portland means he’s likely going to miss any other games the Blazers happen to play, at least in the first round. Wednesday’s Game 5 was postponed due to the walkout of NBA players over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and has not officially been rescheduled.
The Blazers were fueled into the playoffs during the seeding games by a dominant Lillard, but he’s sputtered a bit since the playoffs officially began. Lillard averaged 37.6 points per game on 49.7 percent shooting across eight seeding games. In four games against the Lakers, he’s averaged 24.3 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting.
Even with Lillard slumping in the playoffs, the Blazers would certainly rather have him on the court than not.
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