The Portland Trail Blazers announced All-Star point guard Damian Lillard is out for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers after undergoing two MRIs and being diagnosed with a right knee sprain.
Lillard suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 135-115 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night. His knee buckled while going up for a shot, and although Lillard initially tried to play through it, the game was already out of reach so Portland made the wise decision to sit him.
This is the second injury Lillard has suffered in the series after dislocating a finger in his left hand in Game 2. The news is obviously unfortunate for a Portland team that finds itself trailing 3-1 in the series and now face elimination on Wednesday night without their best player.
Lillard was a driving force in getting the Trail Blazers to the postseason, recently being named the MVP of the Orlando bubble. The Lakers and their stellar defense have found a way to neutralize him a bit as Lillard is averaging 24.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 40.6% from the field in the series.
Lillard previously averaged an incredible 37.6 points to go along with 4.3 rebounds and 9.6 assists in the eight seeding games leading up to the playoffs.
With Lillard ruled out for Game 5, the Trail Blazers have the option of starting their young backup point guard in Anfernee Simons, who has struggled in this series, or they can shift CJ McCollum over to the point guard position and start Gary Trent Jr., who is one of their best perimeter shooters.
Either way, if the Lakers continue to play the way they have the last three games after dropping Game 1, they should have no problem closing out a Portland team that barely snuck into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
The Trail Blazers are also without one of their big man in Zach Collins, who has missed the series due to an ankle issue and himself was recently ruled out for the remainder of the postseason.
Davis listed as probable for Game 5
Lillard wasn’t the only star to suffer an injury in Game 5 as Anthony Davis was also limited to just 18 minutes due to back spasms.
Davis dominated in the first half and was a big reason why the Lakers built such a big lead, scoring 18 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks. He was a game-high +37, which is incredible considering he only played 18 minutes.
After the game though, Davis emphasized that his back issue is nothing serious and he is expected to be good to go for Game 5.
“Back is doing fine. I’ll be fine,” he said.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!