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News / Sports / Blazers

Blazers notebook: Medical decision, not coach, keep Lillard out

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: December 26, 2015, 6:52pm

PORTLAND — Few things are clear regarding Damian Lillard and his most public battle with injury.

But Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts made one thing clear for everyone regarding the situation prior to the team’s game Saturday against the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It wasn’t my decision,” Stotts said. “It was a medical decision, just wasn’t ready to play tonight. He wants to play, but understands health is important. When he’s ready to play he’ll be anxious to get out there.”

Saturday was Lillard’s third consecutive missed game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. His status for Sunday’s game in Sacramento against the Kings is uncertain.

Down the walkway under the bleachers and through the tunnel on the floor, Lillard was putting up some shots.

One dribble pull-ups at half-speed. Corner 3-pointers. Everything that Lillard normally does pregame, at half speed. He occasionally did a dance move with his dribble as he eased into jumpers. He ended his workout by hitting some 35-foot jumpers.

According to his coach Lillard is still unable to run, which was evident during Lillard’s pregame shooting session.

“He’s not running, he’s getting therapy,” Stotts said. “He can stand and shoot set shots. Really he can’t do much on his feet athletically.”

The Blazers chances without Lillard are almost non-existent. But they’re taking their time in getting their star guard out on the court, even if the progress is coming at half speed.

Kyrie Irving out

The Cavaliers are without their All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving for Saturday’s game against the Blazers.

Irving made his return last week against the Philadelphia 76ers but as part of his recovery process from a knee injury during last year’s NBA Finals, he’s being held out of back-to-backs early on as part of his recovery.

Irving is on a minutes restriction, playing just 26 minutes in the team’s Christmas Day loss in a rematch against the Golden State Warriors.

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer