Around the 10 minute mark in the third quarter last night, Wesley Matthews caught an outlet with only Dirk Nowitzki to beat. When he planted on his left foot, his Achilles’ tendon ruptured, and now he’s done for the season. It’s big blow for the Blazers, especially any title dreams, and Matthews is a free agent this summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first broke the news, and Portland confirmed it last night.
Here’s the play in question, which looks totally innocuous — he’s made that cut thousands of times before.
Achilles’ tendon injuries normally take eight to nine months to recover from, which is just about the worst timing for the Blazers and Matthews. Despite the news he was done for the season, Wesley actually spoke to the media, not something you normally see.
Here’s video of him talking to reporters after he heard the news.
The addition of Arron Afflalo at the deadline will help on the wing, but to suggest Portland will move forward as if nothing’s happened is severely underestimating what Matthews meant to this team. Yes, they won 95-74 over the Mavs last night after he fell, extending their winning streak to five, but his defensive impact, and his three-point shooting, can’t be replaced.
Matthews was sporting the highest player efficiency rating of his career (16.1) and was shooting 38.8 percent from deep, while attempting over seven 3-pointers a game. The Blazers score almost four more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court than when he sits. Wesley also plays some of the hardest man-to-man defense in the league, something hard to accomplish in the contemporary NBA with no hand-checking.
After playing in 250 straight games to start his career, the man nicknamed “Iron Man” had started a new streak and was at 142 consecutive games before going down last night.
Matthews’ teammates took to twitter to show their support:
(video via Portland Trail Blazers)