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Carmelo Anthony Returns to Blazers Practice, Likely to Be Active vs. Clippers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers' Carmelo Anthony leaves the court at halftime during Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers could have Carmelo Anthony back for Wednesday's potential Western Conference playoff preview against the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, guard CJ McCollum said the Syracuse product practiced with the team Tuesday and should be back by Wednesday. McCollum clarified that Anthony did not test positive for COVID-19.

ESPN noted the 10-time All-Star did not travel with the Trail Blazers for Monday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers because of the NBA's "health and safety" protocols.

Portland won the playoff rematch without him behind a combined 51 points from Lillard and McCollum. It was Gary Trent Jr. who helped make up for Anthony's absence, though, as he poured in 28 points off the bench while taking advantage of the spacing created by playing alongside the two talented guards.

Anthony has appeared in two games this season and is averaging 10.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.5 steals a night while shooting 50.0 percent from three-point range.

While Portland does not expect him to play like the offensive force he was in his prime with the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets, Anthony is an important secondary option in the rotation. He can help space the floor when defenses collapse on Lillard and McCollum and provides length on the wing on the defensive end.

The Trail Blazers could use that against the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during Wednesday's game.

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