Report: Damian Lillard Has Played Through Ankle, Knee, Rib Injuries for Blazers

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard passes during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Damian Lillard recently missed three games because of a hamstring injury, but that's reportedly just the tip of the iceberg of physical ailments for the Portland Trail Blazers star. 

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lillard has been playing through a left ankle injury, tender ribs, a lower abdomen strain and knee soreness down the stretch this season. 

It's not specified how long the point guard's body has been experiencing problems, but there has been a clear divide in his performance this season. The six-time All-Star was playing at an MVP level in his first 41 games, averaging 30.3 points on 38.3 percent three-point shooting and 7.6 assists. 

The Blazers were 25-16 after a March 19 win over the Dallas Mavericks

Since that time, though, Lillard and the Blazers have fallen on hard times. His scoring average has dropped to 22.6 points on 37.5 percent shooting with 6.8 assists in his past 17 games. The 30-year-old sat out games against the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers two weeks ago with hamstring tendinopathy

Portland has lost 12 of its last 21 games since March 21, including a season-long five-game losing streak from April 18-25. 

Overall, the Blazers' 34-28 record ranks seventh in the Western Conference. They would be in the play-in tournament for one of the final two playoff spots if the season ended today. 

The Trail Blazers are only one game behind the Mavs for the sixth seed and two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 5 seed. 

Lillard is the driving force behind Portland's success. If he can't play at a high level down the stretch, it will be difficult for the team to have much chance of making any noise in the playoffs.