LaMarcus Aldridge: Updates on Trail Blazers Forward's Ankle Injury

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

Dec 16, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) rolls on the court after injuring his ankle late in the fourth quarter of the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the Rose Garden. The Blazers won the game 95-94. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge sustained an ankle injury in the Portland Trail Blazers' last-second victory over the New Orleans Hornets Sunday night.

The Oregonian reporter Mike Tokito had the news:

LaMarcus Aldridge has a sprained left ankle, X-ray negative, but will have MRI. He has crutches, said it was pretty painful.

— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) December 17, 2012


UPDATE: Saturday, December 22 at 9:10 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford reporter Chris Haynes, Aldridge will play Saturday night versus the Phoenix Suns:

#Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) says he will play tonight vs Suns.

— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) December 23, 2012


---End of Update---


UPDATE: Monday, December 17 at 3:50 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

As expect, Aldridge's MRI confirmed a left ankle sprain. From Trail Blazers PR:

LaMarcus Aldridge's MRI results confirm a left ankle sprain. #ripcity

— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) December 17, 2012

---End of Update---

Sprained ankles can be very difficult to recover from, depending on the severity of the injury. The injury will probably impact Aldridge's ability to cut back and forth and slow him down altogether.

Aldridge is enjoying another excellent season in Rip City. The sixth-year forward is averaging 21 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He gives rookie point guard Damian Lillard a consistent threat to look for down low, and his ability to step away from the basket makes him a more difficult matchup.

Losing Aldridge hurts, especially because Portland has struggled with him on the floor. At 11-12, the team hasn't played well enough to really contend in the Western Conference, and it's safe to assume that they won't play any better without him in the lineup.

Jared Jeffries and Luke Babbitt are behind Aldridge on Portland's depth chart, but neither provides the production that the skilled big man does.

It's also possible that rookie Meyers Leonard could see an uptick in playing time if J.J. Hickson bumps over to power forward for the time being.

Aldridge could recover quickly from his ankle sprain, but it wouldn't make sense to rush him back. The season is still young, and it doesn't make sense to jeopardize his health later in the year.

The team's next five games come against Denver, Phoenix, the Lakers and they play Sacramento twice. Any team will be tough, but that stretch could be worse.

Stay tuned for updates regarding the Blazers' star forward.