Blazers Damian Lillard (plantar fasciitis), CJ McCollum (ankles) OUT Monday vs. Hawks
The two leading scorers for the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard (left foot plantar fascitis) and CJ McCollum (bilateral ankle sprains) are out for Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, according to the team. Monday will break Lillard’s streak of 275 consecutive games played dating back to his first game in the NBA. It was the third-longest active streak in the NBA behind Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson.
Lillard told reporters in Miami that he would play but apparently that has been scratched and the plantar fasciitis issue in his left foot must be causing him more trouble than he’s leading on, which isn’t uncommon for Lillard who plays through multiple injuries at a time. Lillard’s durability is a point of pride for him and one of the biggest reasons he’s been an All-Star for multiple seasons.
So far this season, Lillard is averaging 24.6 points per game, 6.8 assists and 36 percent shooting from long range. I discovered in my Blazers’ week and review that only Lillard and Steph Curry are averaging 22 points per game, six assists and 36 percent shooting in the league. Lillard appeared to turn an ankle in the teams loss to Oklahoma City and then he appeared to be injured again in Sunday’s loss to the Heat.
Lillard came close to ending the streak earlier this season after suffering from some food poisoning in Los Angeles and had to leave a game against the Clippers early in the 2nd half to go to the locker room.
McCollum also appeared to be hobbled and has been diagnosed with bilateral ankle sprains. The play that seemed to cause problems for McCollum was when Dwyane Wade undercut him in an attempt to steal the ball. McCollum jumped to avoid the collision but he was visibly shaken after the play.
McCollum has been Portland’s second leading scorer, averaging 20 points and just a hair under 4 assists per game on 40 percent shooting on 3-pointers. He has been one of the biggest stories for the Blazers this season and the other major reason why the Blazers have been better than people anticipated. Monday will be the first time McCollum misses a game in the 2015-16 season.
I would expect that Tim Frazier and Allen Crabbe get the start for the Blazers tonight, but without Lillard and McCollum it could also be a night to start Meyers Leonard to help goose the offense along. Stotts will almost certainly keep the Hawks guessing until tip off but if there is any news on that front we’ll be sure to get it to you.