Update: April 21 — Lillard will return to the lineup for Wednesday’s game vs. the Denver Nuggets after missing three straight games due to a hamstring injury. Dame did not play on Tuesday but says he expects to play tonight. Nurkic is also expected to be back after resting on Tuesday. With Dame back, CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons should be asked to do less at PG. Carmelo Anthony and Norman Powell will be asked to do less on the offensive end.
Portland Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard will remain sidelined for Tuesday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. Lillard was held out of Sunday’s 109-101 loss to the Charlotte Hornets due to a hamstring injury. Those seem to be impacting a lot of stars lately. Dame will miss his third straight game and we don’t have a good idea when he’ll be back. The Blazers remain 2.0 games up on the Dallas Mavericks for 7th place in the Western Conference at 32-24.
Jusuf Nurkic will also miss Tuesday’s game vs. the Clips with some injury management, which is just a fancy way of avoiding the phrase “load management.” Nurk played 24 minutes in Sunday’s game and finished with 12 points and 6 boards. He’s had a pretty rough month, averaging 9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4 assists over seven games.
With Dame sidelined, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony are the main scorers. McCollum had 29 points two games ago against the Spurs and Melo led the team in scoring against the Hornets. Norman Powell will also have more scoring opportunities and usage with Lillard still out. Anfernee Simons has gotten more minutes off the bench as well and could be a sneakier DFS play on Tuesday.
The Blazers are 60/1 to win the championship and 32/1 to make it to the NBA Finals this season. Lillard is probably fine and this hamstring thing is playing it safe. If this becomes an issue, it would impact Portland’s title odds and West chances. It’s not something to overreact to now, but rather to keep in mind and monitor closely.