From championship contenders, the Portland Trail Blazers can see their season aspirations slipping through their fingers in the form of injuries. First to Wesley Matthews, and now LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum join him, leaving the team with very little to carry them in the playoff race.
No, the Blazers, with 14 games to go, won’t be left out of the postseason – things aren’t that bad. But their hopes of reaching second in the West took a huge blow after losing 97-86 to the Memphis Grizzlies, and also have to try and fend off the Clippers, Spurs and Mavericks, trying to take the fourth spot in the conference away from them.
Aldridge hurt his hand in the first quarter, tried playing through the pain but couldn’t carry on much longer, missing the second half. X-rays on his left arm turned up negative results, but Aldridge isn’t quite sure when he’ll be able to play again. It’s the same arm that Aldridge was about to have operated in January (thumb) but opted out of the procedure.
Nicolas Batum is probably in a less worrying condition. He hurt his back after a bad landing but shouldn’t be out for too long. Still, without the two of them, the Blazers are left with Damian Lillard and Robin Lopez as the only players from the original starting lineup, which means more Dorell Wright, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard and maybe even Alonzo Gee.
The current road trip has been awful for the Blazers, losing the third spot in the West. It began with a win in Toronto, but has followed with four consecutive losses (Wizards, Heat, Magic, Grizzlies) heading into their game with the Golden State Warriors.