Blazers' Aldridge out at least two games

Blazers also will be without Mo Williams

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

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The Portland Trail Blazers will be without LaMarcus Aldridge for the next two games and possibly more.

The team announced on Thursday that Aldridge received an MRI on his back after X-rays came back negative. The diagnosis for Aldridge's injury is a "back contusion" and he will be re-evaluated after the Blazers next two games.

Aldridge fell after making a driving lay-up in the third quarter of Portland's loss on Wednesday to the San Antonio Spurs.

Aldridge left the game after scoring 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

The Trail Blazers recently went through a stretch without Aldridge when they went 4-1 in late February. Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland and Thomas Robinson also were sidelined during the stretch.

The Blazers have Robinson and Leonard to help the depth of the front court. However, coach Terry Stotts went with a lineup starting Dorell Wright at power forward in those five games without Aldridge.

Aldridge is the Blazers' leader in points, rebounds and field goal attempts and the Blazers also have a slightly better defense when Aldridge plays, according to NBA.com.

However, the Blazers played elite defense by forcing turnovers and using more double teams while Aldridge was out and Damian Lillard took advantage of the space that line-ups heavy in three-point shooting provide.

Unfortunately for the Blazers, they will also be without their most consistent bench contributor this season in Mo Williams for a time.

Williams was also a major part of the Blazers success in their five-game stretch without Aldridge, averaging 14.2 points per game on 50 percent shooting.

The Blazers announced shortly after the Aldridge announcement that Williams, too, went under an MRI confirming the diagnosis of a "right hip strain."

However, the Blazers say that he is expected to be out for two weeks which would put his return date at March 27 against the Atlanta Hawks at the earliest.

The team diagnosed Williams with a right hip strain on Tuesday after he was forced from action in their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.