The Portland Trail Blazers have been in the center of NBA conversation for suboptimal reasons in recent days. Longtime executive Neil Olshey was recently fired after allegations of a hostile work environment and, in the days following that reshuffling, star guard Damian Lillard was thrust into the spotlight through the lens of trade rumblings, a reported desire for a contract extension, and frustration with media coverage.
On the court, the Blazers are on a three-game losing streak, and unfortunate health news arrived on Tuesday evening with the team announcing that standout guard CJ McCollum suffered a collapsed right lung (pneumothorax) during a Dec. 4 loss to the Boston Celtics.
McCollum did not appear in Portland’s game on Monday, and he was listed as having bruised ribs. In the team release, the Blazers noted that McCollum did not travel to San Francisco for a Wednesday night matchup against the Golden State Warriors, and he “will be further evaluated before a prognosis is determined.”
First and foremost is the hope that McCollum will get well soon and avoid any further complications. Beyond that, this is not the type of injury that happens regularly to NBA players, leading to some uncertainty in just how long McCollum may be sidelined. Injury expert Jeff Stotts shed a bit of light on that, even while noting the sparse data.
Very odd and unusual injury in the NBA. Gerald Wallace and Terrence Jones both suffered rib injuries that also included a pneumothorax. Average missed time? 6.5 games https://t.co/CAsZuLSvMR
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) December 8, 2021
The 30-year-old McCollum is averaging 20.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game this season for Portland. He acts as Portland’s No. 2 offensive option in support of Lillard and, in McCollum’s absence, the Blazers could turn to players like Dennis Smith Jr., Tony Snell, Ben McLemore, and/or C.J. Elleby for additional contributions.