Portland Trail Blazers seek second opinion on ailing LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge’s nagging hip injury could end his season early

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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TUALATIN, Ore. -- Baghdad. Kabul. Antarctica.

For a Portland Trail Blazer, these are typically more desirable destinations than Vail, Colo.

Vail is where Greg Oden found himself consistently visiting while rehabilitating his knee, often hearing that he would be done for the season. And now, LaMarcus Aldridge found himself in that very city to have his nagging hip examined.

The Blazers announced that the All-Star forward and team trainer Jay Jensen flew to Colorado Tuesday to meet with Dr. Marc Phillipon of the Steadman Clinic. Aldridge sat out due to hip soreness earlier in the year and finds that the joint continues to perturb him.

Questionable for Wednesday night’s game against Golden State, Aldridge and the Blazers wanted a second pair of eyes on the injury as a precautionary measure for their leading scorer’s long-term health. Whether he plays another game this season is to be determined.

“We’re going to listen to LaMarcus and want to do what’s best for him,” acting Blazers general manager Chad Buchanan said. “All of our guys are banged up. The majority of guys around the league are battling nick-nack injuries, but you hope it doesn’t come to that (him sitting out).”

Aldridge has missed two games due to an ankle injury this season, one because of a sore elbow, but none due to hip pain despite multiple complaints about it.

The big man is averaging a team-high 21.7 points and eight rebounds this year for Portland, which finds itself in 11th place in the Western Conference -- 4 games out of eighth place with eight games to go.

Buchanan admitted that Monday’s loss to Houston was “a pretty big blow” to the Blazers’ postseason hopes, but insisted that Aldridge would have traveled to Vail no matter how tight the playoff race was.

“Our guys’ long-term health is way more important one or two games in the playoff hunt,” Buchanan said.

• Croom interviews for GM job: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Blazers interviewed agent Noah Croom in regards to the open GM position.

Croom, who works for Goodwin Sports Management, was previously an assistant GM with the Vancouver Grizzlies, where he negotiated all player and coach contracts, according to the GSM website.

Buchanan said that he is unaware of the potential GM candidates and has not approached Blazers president Larry Miller about an interview.

“If they ask me to yes,” Buchanan said when asked if he would interview for the job. “(Right now) I’ve been too focused on the season.”

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or matt.calkins@columbian.com