When the Portland Trail Blazers signed Enes Kanter, there was no way they knew how beneficial he would end up being to their playoff run. The usually offensive-minded Kanter was phenomenal in the first round of the playoffs — not only did he average 13.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in the five-game series victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he also played some of the best defense of his entire career. It was a different Kanter, and if he continues to play like this, the Trail Blazers will be a tough squad to beat in the postseason.
That will only be the case, however, if Kanter is available. Kanter said that he had injured his shoulder and his status for the Western Conference Semifinals is unknown.
“I think the Blazers are doing a very good job taking care of it. But, I mean obviously, I’m not going to lie, it hurts pretty bad,” Kanter said, according to ESPN. “I mean I’m having a hard time changing my shirt or eating food. So it’s a process. We’re just taking it day by day, see how it feels.”
For now, he plans on trying to play through the pain and make an attempt at getting on the court.
“They just said it’s a separation, it’s normally around a month to just heal it,” Kanter said. “But I mean, you don’t have a month to take off, so I’m just going to push through it.”
It’s impressive that Kanter is going to see if he can play through the injury, but the issue is that playing could cause more serious damage. That said, the Blazers would miss him dearly if he had to sit out — they’ve already lost Jusuf Nurkic and their big man depth behind Kanter is shallow.
If there’s one benefit for Kanter, it’s that he’s been getting rest. The Blazers don’t even know who they’re going to play yet, as their potential opponents in the next round, the Denver Nuggets or the San Antonio Spurs, will play in a Game 7 on Saturday night in Denver.