LaMarcus Aldridge to Play vs. Blazers After Being Cleared from Heart Arrhythmia

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2017

Doctors have cleared San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge to participate in all basketball activities, and he will be available against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday evening, according to the team:

The team had announced Saturday that Aldridge was out indefinitely with a minor heart arrhythmia, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com, but the situation was apparently less concerning than originally feared. 

"You just think more seriously," head coach Gregg Popovich said Saturday, per Wright. "When somebody says heart, you start thinking a little more possible long-term kind of stuff. That's a little scary. But you don't go there yet."

Aldridge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome at the end of his rookie season in April 2007. That forced him to miss the final nine games of that campaign and also the beginning of the 2011-12 season, as Wright noted.

The condition didn't stop Aldridge, 31, from being a five-time All-Star during his career. During his nine seasons in Portland, he averaged 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, and he signed a four-year, $84 million contract with the Spurs in July 2015, per Spotrac.com.

Since joining the Spurs, Aldridge's production has waned slightly from his prime. He went from averaging 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game with the Blazers in the 2014-15 season to 17.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in his two seasons with the Spurs.

Still, he's a vital complement for superstar Kawhi Leonard. Alongside Dewayne Dedmon and Pau Gasol, he gives the Spurs one of the best frontlines in the NBA, too.

With the Spurs back in the running for the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference due to the recent struggles of the Golden State Warriors—the Spurs are 0.5 games behind the Warriors heading into Wednesday's action—Aldridge's return is a major boost for their chances of going on a late-season run.

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