Aldridge won’t play as Blazers host Nuggets

Forward out with sprained left ankle




BEAVERTON, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the Trail Blazers’ matchup tonight with the Denver Nuggets, coach Terry Stotts confirmed on Wednesday.

Aldridge has not practiced since spraining his left ankle on Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets.

Late in the game, Aldridge landed on the foot of the Hornets’ Ryan Anderson and immediately crumpled to the ground in pain. Aldridge left the game and did not return.

Remaining true to character, Stotts would not publicly reveal who would replace Aldridge, who leads the team in points (21) and minutes played (38.1).

However if recent history offers clues, rookie Meyers Leonard may get his third career start. It was Leonard who replaced Aldridge on Nov. 25 in Brooklyn, when Aldridge missed the game due to tightness in his back.

Leonard averages 4.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Beyond Leonard, the Blazers can also plug in Jared Jeffries, who isn’t a threat to score but plays an active brand of defense and is known to draw offensive fouls.

 The last option, rookie power forward/center Joel Freeland, may not be available as he recovers from a torn ligament in his right index finger. On Wednesday, Freeland still wore a splint to protect the hand and did not participate the team’s scrimmage with the St. Mary’s Home For Boys.

 Also, Wesley Matthews (left hip flexor strain) is listed as a “game-time decision” for the Nuggets.