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Wednesday, June 7, 2023
June 7, 2023

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Blazers notebook: Aldridge returns, Batum still on the mend

By , Columbian Trail Blazers Writer

PORTLAND — Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge made his return to the court on Monday against New Orleans after a one-game absence

Forward Nicolas Batum is still not ready to come back, according to head coach Terry Stotts.

It seemed like Batum’s goal of the New Orleans game was a best-case scenario and it’s clear that this injury was not a little scratch.

“He’s still feeling better but it’s too early to say exactly when he will be back,” Stotts said.

Stotts also said that Batum went through testing but was simply not ready for Monday’s game. Although the Blazers have three days to rest before their next game on Friday, the Blazers are leaving open the possibility he might not be back by Friday.

However, Batum said prior to Monday’s clash against the Pelicans that he “should be OK” for Friday against Chicago.

Reaction to a first for Lillard

Damian Lillard was named the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, while Cleveland’s LeBron James took home the honor for the East.

Stotts was surprised that Lillard had not earned the honor before since he’s seemingly done almost everything an NBA player can do in only two seasons.

“I’m actually surprised this is the first time he won it,” Stotts said. “He’s done so much in a short time I thought he already had won one. When you win games and when you go 3-0 in a week or 4-0 in a week the individual awards have come around.”

Bouncing back after slow start

The Blazers offense struggled out of the gates offensively but have rebounded to have a top-five offense.

Stotts said the offensive’s slow start was probably his biggest surprise in the first 10 games.

“I didn’t think it was going to last, but I was surprised with how we came out offensively,” Stotts said. “I’m not surprised with our defense, but I’m pleased through 10 games with our commitment to defense.”

Columbian Trail Blazers Writer