The 2021-22 NBA season has not been particularly kind to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the team received some positive news on Thursday evening. On Dec. 7, the Blazers announced the standout guard CJ McCollum suffered a collapsed right lung (pneumothorax) during a loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 4. After nearly three weeks of recovery and further evaluation, however, Portland indicated on Thursday that McCollum’s lung is “fully healed” and he has been cleared for non-contact drills, shooting, and increased conditioning.
At this stage, there is no definitive timeline for McCollum’s return, though Portland shared that he will be reevaluated next week. Still, the news that McCollum’s condition has vastly improved is very positive, and he seems to be progressing in encouraging fashion — and in a season that has been light on good news, it’s nice to hear.
Portland is just 13-19 to begin this season, including a recent seven-game losing streak that closely aligned with McCollum’s absence. The veteran guard is averaging 20.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game this season for the Blazers and, while Damian Lillard is unquestionably the face of the franchise in Portland, the Blazers need McCollum to reach their full potential. Portland has three more games to close out 2021, hosting Dallas and Utah before traveling to Los Angeles, and indications are that McCollum’s presence should be felt in the near future.