March 22 update: The Trail Blazers have ruled Lillard out for the season, so he will not return despite the team in contention for the play-in tournament. The Blazers are clearly trying to tank for a draft pick, so Lillard coming back and risking re-injury was not on the cards. The point guard is likely going to be traded in the offseason, so we’ll see how that market shapes up in the coming weeks.
The Portland Trail Blazers announced Sunday that PG Damian Lillard will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks after progressing to the next phase in his rehab from abdominal surgery. Lillard has been sidelined since the end of 2021 due to an abdominal injury that required surgery. He was expected to be looked at again in 4-6 months following the procedure, and the feeling was Lillard’s chances of returning this season were slim. That’s mostly because of where the Blazers are at in the standings.
Portland is 25-35 entering Sunday and are just on the inside of the play-in tournament line. If the season were to end today, the Blazers would have to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in tournament. If Lillard is able to return, Portland could have some hopes of sneaking into the playoffs as the 8-seed in the West. It’s a long-shot though. Chances are the Blazers will proceed with what should be a rebuild this offseason after trading SG CJ McCollum.