As losses continue to pile up for the Portland Trail Blazers this late in the regular season, the organization and star point guard Damian Lillard are being forced into a dilemma they hoped to avoid.

NBA insider Chris Haynes recently said that Lillard probably has just about a handful of games left before the Blazers (31-40) shut him down and allow him to fully heal from right calf tightness. Following a 117-102 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland's sixth straight, the former All-NBA First Teamer offered a rather blunt take on the team's bleak playoff prognosis, and the likelihood he finishes out the regular season.

“We've pretty much fallen out of the race for the 10th spot, unless we got out there and win every game,” Lillard said via James Burnes. “I just love to play, I love the competition and I haven't been ready to give that up. But it does come a point in time when do you stop putting your competitive nature out front.”

The Blazers are three-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament and will also have to leap past the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz. The idea that Lillard would sit out the remainder of the year was unfathomable just a few weeks ago when the franchise was still hovering around .500. Now, it might be the most prudent approach to take.

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Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Damian Lillard holding All-Star Game MVP trophies.

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Lillard missed 52 games last year after both he and Portland agreed there was little reason to rush him back from abdominal surgery while the team was in the midst of a woeful campaign (27-55). The 32-year-old is averaging 32.2 points and 7.2 assists per game in what could be considered a career-year.

And yet, the sum of the parts has again failed to add up to the excellence of the individual. The Blazers try to get right at Utah Wednesday night.