Update, Dec. 12 — Lillard will play in Sunday night’s game vs. the T-Wolves, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported. Dame has been sidelined the past five games due to an abdominal injury. Lillard should reclaim his position in the starting lineup, though we’re still waiting to hear word on his minutes. He could be limited in his first game back.
With Lillard back, Dennis Smith Jr. will head to the bench. It’s also a slight downgrade for Norman Powell and Nassir Little in terms of fantasy basketball. If Lillard is going to be monitored, then Powell retains some value but Little only played 26 minutes last game. Powell should still see 30+ minutes and enough shots to remain fantasy relevant.
Update, Dec. 11 — Lillard is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest against the Timberwolves.
Update, Dec. 8 — Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard received cortisone injections into his abdominal and could return as soon as Sunday vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. This would be pretty good news for Portland considering the loss of G CJ McCollum to a collapsed lung on Tuesday. There have also been reports out surrounding Lillard and a potential extension this offseason. Getting back on the court could help Dame thwart some of the rumors swirling.
Update, Dec. 1 — The Trail Blazers announced Lillard is dealing with an abdominal tendinopathy and will be sidelined at least 10 days. After that window, Dame will be re-evaluated, so there’s a chance he could miss extended time. The 10-day window means Lillard will miss at least the next 4 games and would have a shot at returning on Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Portland Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard is expected to rest on Tuesday night vs. the Detroit Pistons due to abdominal pain. The Blazers have lost three games in a row and Lillard struggled in their last game, a loss to the Utah Jazz. After going on a scoring binge during a five-game winning streak, Lillard has combined for 27 points over the past two games. The injury could likely be the reason for Dame’s struggles lately.
With Lillard out against the Pistons, the Blazers will need a few players to step up. Norman Powell and Nassir Little are also out due to injury, so CJ McCollum will be the go-to scorer. Aside from CJ, Portland has Anfernee Simons, who will be a trendy option on DraftKings in NBA DFS for the five-game slate tonight. Simons dropped 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the loss to Utah.
Update — The spread has moved to 7 points in favor of the Blazers as a result of Dame being out. The over/under is also at 210, so not many points expected, which is something to consider with DFS options. They’ll look good on paper but this game could be pretty ugly.
The Blazers were 9.5-point favorites at home before the Dame news came out. With Lillard expected to sit, Portland will remain favorites but the spread could shrink slightly. If you were able to get the line on Detroit to cover 9.5 points before the news, that isn’t a bad bet. We’ll see what the over/under looks like, but the under will probably be a popular play.