Damian Lillard, who injured his right groin on Feb. 12 and has missed the Trail Blazers‘ last five games, will also be out for Monday’s contest in Orlando. However, the star point guard is targeting a return on Wednesday at home vs. Washington, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link).
In addition to losing the game in which Lillard went down, Portland has dropped four of the five post-All-Star Game contests he has missed. The Blazers squandered the opportunity to make up some ground in the playoff race during that stretch — they’re currently 26-35, 12th in the West and 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies.
If Lillard is able to return this week and stays healthy, he figures to play a key role in the Blazers’ push for a spot in the postseason. After Wednesday’s game against the Wizards, Portland’s next four games are against the Suns (twice), Kings and Grizzlies, so that will be a crucial stretch for the club.
Lillard, 29, was enjoying the best season of his career before being sidelined by his groin injury. In 54 games (37.0 MPG), he has averaged 29.5 PPG, 7.9 APG and 4.4 RPG with a .460/.393/.889 shooting line — several of those marks are career highs.