TUALATIN, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge left Trail Blazers practice on Friday morning with an upper respiratory illness, which has worked its way through the team and now hit their best player.
Aldridge has not been officially ruled out by the Blazers but has been deemed “doubtful” for Saturday when they take on the Brooklyn Nets.
“I think he had a touch of it in Denver,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said about his superstar’s illness. “We sent him home today, hopefully he feels better.”
Of course, as is his standard, Stotts wouldn’t reveal who would start in the event Aldridge misses the game.
It would seem that the obvious choice is big man Chris Kaman, who’s alternated between the power forward and center positions while averaging 10 points and seven rebounds per game off the Blazers bench.
Stotts has glowed about Kaman but says he doesn’t want to run up the 12-year veteran’s minutes.
“Chris has been fantastic for us. He’s provided a spark. Scoring, rebounding, energy off the bench. I don’t necessarily want to run his minutes into starters minutes. We’re going to have to rely on him if LA doesn’t play,” he said.
The Blazers will be without Aldridge and Batum (knee), who ran and did some shooting for the first time on Friday since his injury on Sunday. Batum is targeting still targeting a return against New Orleans on Monday.
Without Aldridge, almost all the eyes will be on the match-up between twin brothers Robin and Brook Lopez when the Blazers take on the Nets. Brook called Robin “an idiot” in the New York Post.
Robin said their mother is rooting for him since he’s more “lovable,” and earlier in the week he boasted that he’s the better looking brother.
“I like to let him get his licks in. He’ll score once or twice. It’d be cruel not to,” Lopez said.
He continued with his half-serious assessment about the differences between he and his brother when asked who was the better basketball player growing up.
“He was. I’m a little more well-rounded than he is. He’s kind of good at the basketball thing. I’m just generally good at everything.”
“It will be interesting to watch,” Stotts said. “It’s funny watching Brooklyn and seeing Brook out there and they send a close-up of him. Just the similarities. It is uncanny but their games are so different.”