Report: Maurice Harkless Out 2-3 Weeks After Undergoing Knee Surgery

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2018

Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) dribbles in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)
Brett Davis/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers will be without Maurice Harkless for the next few weeks after the sixth-year forward underwent knee surgery Wednesday.

The team announced Tuesday that Harkless would undergo arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday to remove a loose body in his left knee. According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Portland forward will be re-evaluated in two weeks, with the expected recovery timetable to be two to three weeks.

The 24-year-old St. John's product was sidelined for three-plus games in early March due to a left patellar tendon strain.

Although Harkless has not been asked to carry a heavy load on offense, he has made the most of his shots. He is averaging 6.5 points on 49.5 percent shooting in 21.4 minutes this season, and he's shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Harkless has been in and out of Portland's starting lineup this season, starting 36 games in 59 appearances. Since he returned from that three-game absence earlier this month, he averaged 26.0 minutes over his eight most recent games.

In Harkless' place, 2010 No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner got the starting nod and played 36 minutes in the Trail Blazers' 107-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. Turner had previously topped 27 minutes in a game only twice this month.

Portland needs all hands on deck to make noise in the playoffs. As long as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum stay healthy, the Trail Blazers will be able to put up a fight against anyone. Keeping Jusuf Nurkic on the court is also key.

While Harkless has been a solid contributor for Portland, Turner should help minimize effect of his injury.

At 46-28, the Trail Blazers hold a six-game lead over the ninth-place Los Angeles Clippers with eight games to play. While they're a near-lock for a playoff berth, they can only hope Harkless is ready to return by the time the postseason begins on April 14. 

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