Preseason Primer: Aldridge out, Batum back vs. Clippers

Tonight the Portland Trail Blazers continue their exhibition season as they are in Los Angeles taking on the Clippers for the second time. They will be without LaMarcus Aldridge, who is sitting with a sore left knee, per reports. Tip-off will be at the L.A. 7:30 start time and tonight’s game will be televised! It will be shown as part of a double-header on NBATV and can be heard locally on 620 AM.

Casey Holdahl of reported that Batum would get the start and that Joel Freeland, who Batum called the “MVP of Training Camp,” will get the start at power forward alongside him.

In Holdahl’s report, it doesn’t seem as if Aldridge is too concerned about the injury

While the MRI came back negative, Aldridge will sit out at least Friday’s game against the Clippers before being reevaluated when the team gets back to Portland.

“It feels better, just a little muscle strain type activity,” said Aldridge of the injury. “I didn’t really know what it was. It wasn’t something that was overly concerning, but you want to make sure that you’re healthy going into the season, so right now, just trying to be cautious. If it’s a little tweaked muscle, why not get it right right now? So that’s what we’re doing.”

Aldridge, who has averaged 15.3 points on 61 percent shooting in just 19 minutes per game, has looked to be in midseason form through three preseason games, leading one to question whether it’s necessary for him to play in Portland’s remaining exhibition contests. But when asked, Aldridge said it was not a foregone conclusion that he would sit out upcoming preseason games against the Kings and Warriors.

“I think as you get older in the league I think you know how to get yourself ready for the season,” said Aldridge. “I definitely don’t feel like preseason hurts but I don’t feel like I need to go play 40 minutes (a game) in preseason either. So far I’ve had a pretty good balance of playing 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 18 minutes. I think that’s been helping me keep my rhythm.”

Joel Freeland will start in Aldridge’s place at power forward tonight against the Clippers.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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