LaMarcus Aldridge to undergo surgery, out for the year
TUALATIN, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge’s season is done.
The Trail Blazers announced Thursday that the All-Star power forward will undergo microscopic surgery on his right hip in order to repair a slight labral tear.
The procedure will be performed by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail Colo., and while there is no specific date set, it is expected to take place in approximately two weeks.
“This is very precautionary and smart to do. If you play on it, it could become something major,” Aldridge said. “I’m just happy that we know it what it is now.”
Aldridge missed Wednesday’s game vs. the Warriors because of his hip and has complained of pain that refused to subside throughout the year. The 26-year-old has had two MRIs on the joint, including one as recently as March 28, but doctors and trainers were unable to pinpoint any specific cause for the discomfort.
Wednesday, Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan told reporters that an “abnormality” had been discovered, which turned out to be the labral tear.
Asked if the initial oversight reflected poorly on the Blazers’ medical staff, Buchanan answered “Absolutely not. We have complete faith in our recovery staff. Always have, always will.”
It is clear that Aldridge will not wear a Blazers jersey until the fall, but whether he dons another basketball uniform prior to that remains to be seen.
Portland’s leading scorer and rebounder (21.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is one of 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, which fielded 12 players in the ’08 games. Aldridge’s recovery time is estimated to be between 2-4 months, with the Olympics beginning July 27. And while LaMarcus had intimated to Blazers management that next season is his top priority, he has not yet ruled out playing on the international stage.
“I could easily be back in time,” said Aldridge. “But I’m not going to push my rehab.”
This will not be Aldridge’s first hip surgery. His left hip went under Dr. Philippon’s knife while he was playing at the University of Texas, but Aldridge described that situation as “night and day” when compared to his current condition, saying the surgery in college was mandatory while this one is recommended.
But that doesn’t mean that his hip hasn’t been hindering his play this year. Aldridge said that the pain has been “pretty bad,” and that he would often consider the tenderness when thinking about making certain moves on the court.
Asked how much it slowed his production, he quipped that “Hopefully it was really, really holding me back,” but then admitted that it was difficult to gauge.
With Aldridge, Elliot Williams and the recently acquired Shawne Williams not playing, Portland is down to 12 players for its final seven games. Even so, Buchanan said that the team does not plan on making any roster additions and is “comfortable” with the personnel that can be plugged it at power forward.
J.J. Hickson will likely benefit most from Aldridge’s absence. Hickson started in Aldridge’s place Wednesday and scored 23 points while grabbing 13 rebounds.
The season began with Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Greg Oden all absent from the first day of training camp — and with Roy retiring and Oden being waived — will end with all three unavailable to the team.
Asked to give his perspective on the season, Aldridge expressed both disappointment in Portland’s shortcomings along with optimism toward the future.
“We came in, we had a really good team, things didn’t work out,” Aldridge said. “We always have next year, and we have a lot of young talent.”
One of the men charged with developing that young talent is Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales. The 34-year-old has grown close to Aldridge over the years and said Thursday that he felt bad for him and that his absence was “definitely challenging.”
Potentially adding to the challenge is Nicolas Batum, who played Wednesday but is still experiencing soreness with his left quad.
Asked if he officially felt like the Blazers’ head coach given this wave of injury, Canales continued to deflect the attention.
“Like I’ve said numerous times, this is not about me,” Canales said. “This is about us as a team.”
Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or firstname.lastname@example.org