The Trail Blazers are considering shutting down star point guard Damian Lillard for the rest of the season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. Lillard has been dealing with a calf injury and missed Portland’s most recent game against the Bulls on Friday.
Now in his 11th season with the Blazers, Lillard was named to his seventh All-Star Game this year. He is currently averaging a career-high 32.2 points per game, which ranks third in the NBA behind Joel Embiid and Luka Dončić, along with 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds.
Portland is currently on pace to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. At 32-41, the Blazers are 3 1/2 games back of the Thunder for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
However, the Blazers also stand just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Magic, who currently own the fifth-worst record in the NBA. If Orlando surpasses Portland in the standings, the Trail Blazers would gain better odds in the NBA lottery ahead of the draft that features Victory Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson at the top of the board.