Damian Lillard Ruled out for Trail Blazers vs. 76ers with Abdominal Injury

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives past Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard won't play Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers due to an abdominal strain, according to NBA.com's Casey Holdahl.

Holdahl noted that Lillard is one of many key Portland players who will miss Thursday's game, including CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Derrick Jones Jr. and Zach Collins.

Lillard, who said he has dealt with abdominal tightness at times for years, has some recent injury history.

The 30-year-old, who was named the KIA NBA Player of the Seeding Games after averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists during the first eight games in Orlando, Florida, in the NBA bubble last season, left Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He then left the bubble to be evaluated by team doctors and missed the next game, in which Portland was eliminated. 

At the end of October, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said Lillard had recovered, though he still wore a splint on his finger out of caution (h/t Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest). But he was emotionally ready to conquer the season, too.

Lillard has largely been healthy this season and has been productive as ever. Through 20 games for Portland, he has averaged 29.1 points and 7.3 assists.

Lillard, the NBA 2K21 cover star was also dealing with foot inflammation prior to the restart and missed time with a groin injury in February, which caused him to sit out the All-Star Game. He earned the fifth All-Star nod of his career, leading the league in minutes played per game (37.5) while averaging 9.5 field goals and 4.1 three-pointers per game, both career highs.

Without their unquestioned best player and several other important contributors, the Blazers will have their work cut out for them against the Eastern Conference-leading 76ers.

Anfernee Simons will likely step in and start at point guard in place of Lillard, while guards Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood figure to see ample playing time with McCollum also out.