Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum could return next week from the broken foot that has kept him out since Jan. 16.
"If I was a betting man, I would bet on next week, but I can't bet on sports," McCollum told Jason Quick of The Athletic on Sunday, two days after he had his first on-court workout.
The Lehigh product, who has become a prominent part of the Blazers lineup, got off to a dominant start in 2020-21. Through 13 games, he averaged 26.7 points, 5.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds before suffering a hairline fracture and mid-foot sprain that was expected to sideline him for at least four weeks.
"You always want to get back as soon as possible, but you have to understand the long game," he said in February. "Your health is extremely important; you only get one of these body parts, so you've got to take good care of them."
His absence was a blow to an already-battered Trail Blazers lineup, with center Jusuf Nurkic set to miss eight weeks after fracturing his wrist a week before McCollum's injury. Nurkic is also expected to return soon, though he is limited with a calf issue amid his rehab.
The team has gone 14-10 while McCollum was sidelined.
Without McCollum, Portland will continue to turn to Gary Trent Jr., who has averaged 15.2 points per game through 35 appearances this season, including 22 starts. Damian Lillard, who is averaging 29.7 points and 8.0 assists, will still play a big role in the team's offensive production.