The Portland Trail Blazers have managed to maintain the Western Conference’s third best record despite lagging injuries to the frontcourt: Robin Lopez (hand) and Joel Freeland (shoulder). However, on Thursday the Blazers took a major blow to their lineup when they announced that three-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge would require surgery to repair a torn radial collateral ligament in his left thumb, which comes with a 6-8 week recovery timetable.
According to Portland’s official press release:
“A second magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirms that Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a radial collateral ligament tear in his left thumb. He will undergo surgery later this week and is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.”
Aldridge sustained the injury in the first quarter of Portland’s win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday after he tried to swat the ball away from DeMarcus Cousins (video below). The 29-year-old headed to the locker room in the second quarter, but he did not return to the game. Initial X-rays came back negative, but Aldridge did not travel with the team to Phoenix for their battle on Wednesday.
The nine-year veteran has put together an impressive season thus far, averaging 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 38 games on 46.2 percent shooting. It was presumed that Aldridge would be selected as an All-Star reserve, but this injury could change that belief.
Aldridge is expected to be one of the top targets in free agency this summer, already sparking reports about the Spurs eyeing him in the offseason. With the Blazers losing five out of their last six and with the Thunder gaining steam in the Northwest Division, Alridge’s absence for next 6-8 weeks will definitely be felt in an ultra-competitive Western Conference
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