UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 22, at 9:50 p.m. ET by Michael Moraitis
#Blazers G Wesley Matthews (ankle, elbow) says he will go tonight vs Lakers.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 23, 2013
---End of update---
Portland G Wesley Matthews (left ankle sprain) will not return. X-rays are negative.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) February 14, 2013
Matthews left just a minute-and-a-half into Wednesday night's game after coming down awkwardly on his ankle while making a pass. He was in obvious pain, needing help off of the floor and putting very little (if any) weight on the ankle
He was replaced in the game by Victor Claver.
Who is the Blazers' most important starter?
Though a sprained ankle was about the best-case scenario for Portland, Matthews' absence will loom large. He's the Blazers' fourth-leading scorer, averaging 15.2 points per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the field.
More important than his individual accomplishments is the fact that Matthews' presence keeps Portland from having to use its bench. The Blazers scored just 14 first-quarter points after Matthews left, and their offensive spacing looked cramped with Claver on the floor.
Those woes without Matthews are indicative of a season-long struggle for Terry Stotts' squad. Portland's depth has been mostly nonexistent in 2012-13, and the team is dead last in the NBA in bench production, getting 16.6 points per game from its bench. Each of the Blazers' regular starting five averages 29 or more minutes and double-figure points per game.
Thus far, the formula has worked. Portland brought a 25-27 record into Wednesday night's contest and was a surprising ninth place in the Western Conference. But with Matthews' status up in the air heading into the All-Star break, it will be critical that he is back at 100 percent when Portland returns to action.
Be sure to check back in as we give you the latest updates on Matthews' injury status and possible return date.