Reports emerged on Saturday that the Portland Trail Blazers are seriously considering shutting Damian Lillard down for the rest of the regular season. They have nine games remaining and are currently 3.5 games outside the playoff picture out in the West. Portland also has a big game coming up on Sunday against the 10th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, and Dame’s final status for that matchup all but confirms the Blazers’ plans.

Damian Lillard injury status vs. Thunder

Lillard is currently dealing with a lingering calf injury, and at this point, he has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Dame was also out of action on Friday as the Blazers lost to the Chicago Bulls, and his absence on Sunday will be his second consecutive game on the shelf because of the tightness in his right calf.

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After Sunday, Portland will have eight games remaining in the regular season, and it does sound like we’ve seen the last of Lillard this year.

In other injury news, the Blazers have already also ruled out Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Justise Winslow, and Ibou Badji for Sunday’s game. With this development, it appears that Portland has now decided to fully embrace the tank as they look to improve their odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick for the 2023 NBA Draft. The Blazers are now headed to the lottery, and it seems to me that they’re trying to do what they can to try and get their hands on French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The 2023 draft class is pretty stacked too, so even if they miss out on Wemby, the Blazers still have a good shot at drafting a real stud who could potentially help them in the years to come.