LaMarcus Aldridge Puts Surgery On Hold, Will Play Tonight Versus Wizards

01.24.15 3 years ago
LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge (Craig Mitchelldyer, USATODAY Sports)

LaMarcus Aldridge surely understands the value of process, but the result he wants can only be had if his team continues improving. And due to the three-time All-Star’s supreme importance to the Portland Trail Blazers, that won’t occur unless he’s on the floor. Just 24 hours after the team announced that Aldridge would miss six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, the sweet shooting big man has decided to put the procedure on hold and play the rest of the season injured.

The Blazers’ official twitter account first broke the news:

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears offered further clarity on this shocking development, including that the decision was Aldridge’s alone:

Assuming Aldridge’s play isn’t overly influenced by a thumb injury to his non-shooting hand, this is a major boon for the Blazers. Portland lost each of the games he missed after initially sustaining the tear, and is just 11-7 over the past two seasons when playing without Aldridge. Other than Damian Lillard, no player makes as big an impact on the Blazers – the team scores 8.4 points fewer per 100 possessions with LMA on the bench as opposed to the floor.

But considering Aldridge was set to return for rehabilitation in late March at worst, one wonders if this choice is short-sighted. Playing through any injury only adds to the chance that a player will exacerbate it or suffer another, putting his long-term health at further risk:

Obviously, Aldridge and the Blazers feel like this is a gamble worth making. They’re among basketball’s best teams when whole, and Portland’s somewhat surprising dominance over the season’s first half has some thinking championship:

That feat would be even more difficult to accomplish if Aldridge was sidelined for a lengthy period of time. Not only would Portland take a tumble down the Western Conference standings without its star, but would also lose the all-valuable continuity its gleaned from two seasons of fortunate health and a steady core of players.

But this decision will only pay-off if Aldridge plays like his pre-injury self. We’ll find out if he can tonight when the Blazers face the Washington Wizards.

What do you think?

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