Blazers forward Dorell Wright out 4-6 weeks with broken left hand
It’s official: Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright will be out at least a month after suffering a broken left hand during Wednesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the team confirmed Friday.
The Blazers gave an indefinite timeline immediately following the injury to Wright’s 4th metacarpal in his left hand. They were awaiting word from Wright’s re-evaluation down in Los Angeles before coming out with the official timeline today.
Wright’s ability to play both forward spots has been big for the Blazers and has been a key to winning games including recent wins at Utah and at Phoenix.
He’s also flashed an ability to drive to the lane more since the injury to Wesley Matthews.
With Wright out of the line-up, the Blazers will likely rely more on Meyers Leonard or Joel Freeland to fill minutes at the forward position. An increase in minutes for Allen Crabbe, who has been patiently awaiting his turn, is also not out of the question.
Just when the Blazers were dealt a tough loss, they get another shot of adversity as a chaser.
They have four games against non-playoff teams coming up: at the Lakers, at home against the Pelicans, at Brooklyn and at home again against the Timberwolves. All of those games are games Portland should win.
Wright being out makes it that much harder and removes an option for Terry Stotts.
Also, if you had any ideas about the Blazers being able to sign someone else, the Wright injury does not make them eligible for the Hardship Exemption. So that option is out the window.
The Blazers have to roll with their team as is.
So, to reiterate, the Blazers CANNOT sign anyone to replace Wright. I’ve had a few people ask me already so I just want to make sure that’s clear. They must have four players who have missed three consecutive games and each of those players has to be out for at least an additional two weeks. The Blazers only have two such cases.
If you missed it, here’s where we think the injury occurred.
So this injury is yet another tough blow to the Blazers who can’t seem to stay healthy. One name we forgot to mention after Wednesday’s game was Alonzo Gee. He works hard on defense but if you’re looking for a creator off the dribble with him, at least at this stage in his career, you’re looking in the wrong place.
Meyers Leonard may very well play more power forward or the Blazers could just go all in with defense and give those minutes to Joel Freeland. Stotts still has a lot of options but Wright was one of his most versatile players who he could use in a variety of situations. Leonard can space the court and has rebounded well but guarding wings is not something he’s going to do.
If Portland has to go up against San Antonio, where they will almost certainly force the Blazers to play small, being without Wright makes it a lot harder to match-up with them.
CJ McCollum’s scoring has picked up and we’ll probably see the ball in his hands even more than we have over the most recent stretch.
Wright is shooting 38 percent from long-range so far this season but had given Portland a little punch with his drives to the rim.
Wright was also a factor during last season’s first round playoff win against the Rockets. In the West, you must be able to adapt and off the bench, nobody on the Blazers was better at adapting to the situation than Wright.
Portland has two weeks to find another new identity after still trying to figure out who they are without Matthews. They still have their stars but it’s getting very slim around the margins.