Blazers' Damian Lillard 'Feels Good' After Successful Surgery on Abdominal Injury

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 13, 2022

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) seen playing the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game, Friday Dec. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John McCoy)
AP Photo/John McCoy

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard provided a positive update Thursday after undergoing abdominal surgery.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lillard said he "feels good" and will be re-evaluated in five to six weeks.

The 31-year-old has been sidelined for 11 of the Blazers' 40 games in 2021-22. A lingering abdominal injury (which the Blazers called lower abdominal tendinopathy, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic) has bothered him this season.

Lillard told reporters in November that he had also played each of the last three seasons with that abdominal discomfort.

As Charania noted, the Weber State product sat on Nov. 14 with the injury and missed a stretch from Dec. 1-12. He's been out since Dec. 31 because of the ailment.

Lillard aggravated his abdominal injury during Team USA's gold-medal run at last year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The injury has lingered into the 2021-22 regular season, though. His scoring and shooting numbers have noticeably fallen: He averaged 28.8 points on 45.1 percent shooting in 2020-21 and 24.0 points on 40.2 percent shooting in 2021-22.

At his best and healthiest, the Oakland, California, native is a stone-cold killer capable of dropping 60-plus points and shooting three-pointers from different zip codes. He's been the biggest reason why Portland has made the playoffs from 2014-2021.

Without a healthy Lillard (and with the team also missing backcourt mate C.J. McCollum for over a month with a collapsed lung), the Blazers have struggled, going 16-24 through 40 games.

They still have a shot at qualifying for the play-in tournament, though, with the bottom six teams in the Western Conference all struggling this year.

The Blazers have gotten some good production from other players who have stepped up, though. And Anfernee Simons, in particular, has starred on occasion.

The four-year NBA veteran has averaged a career-high 14.1 points per game with his newfound opportunities.

Norman Powell has also stepped up to help with offensive production, averaging a career-high 18.6 points per game.