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Blazers’ CJ McCollum speaks out on playing through back injury

CJ McCollum, Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers secured their spot in the playoffs following a 126-122 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, thanks in part to CJ McCollum who played really well despite a lingering back issue.

After the game, McCollum opened up about playing through the lower back fracture and explained why it was important for him to keep on playing.

“It was all mental. I was fortunate enough to have an injury I can play through, and our training staff has done a great job of monitoring it,” the Blazers guard said, via Mark Medina of USA TODAY. “You understand you’re playing more than just yourself. We have a chance to do special things as a unit and I want to be a part of it.”

It certainly did not look like CJ McCollum was playing through pain on Saturday, with the 28-year-old finishing with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting, along with three rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block in 44 minutes of action. This was one of McCollum’s most efficient outings in the bubble after averaging just 34.6 percent from the field over the last three games.

This victory secured Portland’s playoffs berth, setting up a first-round match-up against the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. The Blazers will be underdogs against LeBron James and company, but as fans have seen before, they have played and thrived in adversity.

Game 1 of the Blazers-Lakers showdown is scheduled for Wednesday, August