Sunday, February 5, 2023
Feb. 5, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge to undergo surgery, miss 6 to 8 weeks

Three-time All-Star suffered torn thumb ligament Monday

By , Columbian Sports Editor
Published:

PORTLAND – LaMarcus Aldridge knew right away this injury was different.

The Portland Trail Blazers learned Thursday that the three-time All-Star forward will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

“I’ve sprained my thumb a few times, but this was at a different level,” Aldridge said before Thursday’s game against Boston. “I couldn’t even move it. It was the most pain I’ve ever had in my hand, for sure.”

Aldridge sustained the injury in the second quarter of Monday’s 98-94 win over Sacramento.

His absence comes at a crucial time of Portland’s season. The Blazers have the second-best record in the Western Conference, but have lost five of their last six games after Thursday’s 90-89 loss.

“It’s like we’ve got to find ourselves all over again,” Damian Lillard said after Thursday’s game. “That was the last thing I wanted to hear. But we’re an NBA team. It’s not like we can stop our schedule until he gets healthy.”

Best case, Aldridge would return during the first week of March. That covers a span of 18 games, 12 of which are against teams with .500 records or better.

“We have to figure out a different way of scoring,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be good. I knew he would miss some time, whether it involved surgery or time off. But we have to move on.”

Now the Blazers will be without Aldridge, who is averaging 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is one of three players in the NBA to average 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds this season, joining New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.

Ironically, it was a collision with Cousins’ knee that injured Aldridge’s thumb. Aldridge underwent a first MRI on his thumb after Monday’s game, but the results were inconclusive.

A second MRI Thursday confirmed the ligament on the outside of his left thumb had torn. Aldridge didn’t know when the surgery would occur, only that it would be “soon.”

“It’s tough,” Aldridge said. “You definitely don’t want anything like this to happen right now. But we just felt (surgery) was the best move to make.”

Aldridge said there were discussions about playing through the injury, but both doctors who examined him said “the risk wasn’t worth the reward.”

“It could be worse on the back end,” Aldridge said. “Or I could wait the six weeks and still not be able to play.”

Aldridge has missed six games this season, during which the Blazers are 3-3. Each of those three wins has come against the Eastern Conference, but 28 of Portland’s remaining 39 are against the West.

Aldridge is the latest injury to Portland’s frontcourt. Robin Lopez has missed the past four weeks with a broken right hand and Joel Freeland has been out since Jan. 3 with a right shoulder strain.

When either will return is unclear, but both are hoping to be back within two-to-three weeks.

“It’s tough because we’ve been in a pretty good rhythm this season,” Aldridge said. “We’ve lost guys throughout the season, which is totally different from last year. But we have a lot of guys here that can step up and make plays. The team shouldn’t stall.”

Loading...