Damian Lillard Out for Trail Blazers vs. Spurs with Hamstring Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 16, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard brings the ball up court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will not play in Friday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs because of right hamstring tendinopathy.

It will mark just the third game Lillard has missed this season and just his second since Feb. 6.

The 30-year-old is averaging 28.7 points on 44 percent shooting and 7.7 assists for the 31-23 Blazers, who are sixth in the Western Conference.

Lillard, who has led Portland to the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, is in his ninth NBA campaign after the Blazers selected him sixth overall out of Weber State in 2012.

The five-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA player has evaded missing extended time because of injury for much of his career, notably playing and starting all 82 games in each of his first three seasons. He has never missed more than nine games in a single year.

The floor general missed the All-Star game plus an additional six regular-season games because of a groin injury last year but returned on March 4. He shined following the league's hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, averaging 37.6 points in eight seeding games prior to the playoffs. 

The point guard also carries a heavy nightly burden for the Blazers, even leading the entire NBA in minutes with 37.5 per game in 2019-20.

Lillard missed the Blazers' Feb. 4 game against the Philadelphia 76ers this season with an abdominal strain, marking the first matchup the nine-year veteran has sat during the 2020-21 campaign. He also missed a March 26 game against the Orlando Magic with a left knee contusion.

Without Lillard, expect Derrick Jones Jr. to enter the lineup, with C.J. McCollum running point, Norman Powell alongside him in the backcourt and Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic playing at starting forward and center, respectively.

The Blazers got by without their star guard during both of his absences, but Lillard is still a huge loss for Portland, which relies on him for his scoring, playmaking and leadership abilities en route to becoming a perennial playoff contender. They need him back as soon as possible.