Blazers' Aldridge out for tonight's game; Pendergraph gets first NBA start

TUALATIN, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge will be held out of tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors at the Rose Garden, Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

McMillan added that Aldridge could possibly miss Portland’s follow-up contest as well, a road game Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

“It definitely could be a few days,” said McMillan, referring to the amount of time Aldridge could be out due to his injury.

Aldridge, who is recovering from a left ankle sprain, is averaging 16.0 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Blazers (21-13).

Portland has won seven of its last nine games, and the team is tied with the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Northwest Division. But the injury-plagued Blazers will take the court tonight against the Warrios with only eight healthy players.

Aldridge will be replaced in the lineup by rookie forward Jeff Pendergraph, who will make his first-ever NBA start.

Pendegraph is averaging 5.4 points and 5.8 rebounds, but has only played in five games this season after missing the first 29 due to hip surgery.

“It kind of means a lot,” Pendergraph said. “But I just like to play, so it just means that I get in the game sooner than later.”

McMillan said the Blazers’ starting lineup will consist of Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Pendergraph and Juwan Howard.

With Aldridge out and guard Steve Blake hospitalized with pneumonia, Roy will be the only starter from last season’s 54-win team.

Meanwhile, McMillan said Blazers assistant coach Maurice Lucas has returned home after a six-week hospital stay in which Lucas underwent chemotherapy treatment for bladder cancer.

“He’s doing OK,” McMillan said. “He’s at home, resting. And it’s good that he was able to get home before Christmas.”

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