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
#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.
Stay tuned for updates regarding the Blazers' star forward.