The Portland Trail Blazers have yet to be eliminated from postseason contention. Given Damian Lillard’s status for the remainder of the regular season, though, go ahead and cross his team off the long list of potential Western Conference playoff teams.
Lillard is set to sit out the rest of 2022-23 as the injury-ravaged Blazers have fallen five games behind 10th-place in the West, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.
Portland, losers of three straight, is currently 32-43, owning extremely long odds of nabbing the last spot in the play-in tournament even if the team’s top players were healthy.
Lillard has missed each of those contests with a calf injury, related to the malady that cost him seven games earlier this season. The Blazers have also been without Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic over that stretch, each of whom is dealing with minor injuries.
Following a 2021-22 season marred by nagging pain in his midsection that eventually required surgery, Lillard rebounded with arguably the best individual campaign of his future Hall-of-Fame career. He’s averaging 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game on elite 64.5% true shooting, leading Portland to one of the league’s top offenses when he’s on the floor.
Lillard’s superlative play hasn’t sparked similar team-wide success, though, despite the Blazers’ front office revamping the roster coming into 2022-23. After making the playoffs eight years in a row following his rookie campaign in 2012-13, Damian Lillard and Portland will now miss out on postseason basketball for the second time in a row.
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