Blazers’ Damian Lillard ready to go vs Grizzlies after dealing with foot injury
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been dealing with a foot injury over the course of the past few days, but he will be ready for the team’s first seeding game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
Head coach Terry Stotts said Lillard participated in the team’s practice on Thursday, and will be in the rotation as the Trail Blazers begin their quest for a playoff spot.
Terry Stotts after Thursday's practice says Damian Lillard is ready to go for Friday's game against Memphis.
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 30, 2020
Both Lillard and the team suggested Lillard’s activity was limited merely as a precaution. Still, it is encouraging to here all systems are a go for the All-Star guard.
Lillard has done his best to keep Portland in the playoff hunt despite a number of key injuries in the frontcourt.
The 30-year-old heads into the seeding games averaging 28.9 points, 7.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc on 9.9 attempts per game. Lillard was also leads the NBA at 36.9 minutes per game.
Lillard’s impact goes far beyond the traditional statistics. The Trail Blazers have an offensive rating of 115.5 when he is on the floor, per Basketball Reference. But the team’s offensive rating drops to 107.8 on the rare occasions when he sits.
Portland is within striking distance of the eighth-seeded Grizzles ahead of their contest with Memphis on Friday. The Trail Blazers are 3.5 games back, but of course have the chance to pick up a game immediately should they win the opening seeding game.
The slate gets much tougher after Memphis, however, as the Trail Blazers draw a tough matchup against the Celtics before games against Western Conference foes in the Rockets and Nuggets.
Regardless, the Blazers will hope a healthy Dame can steer the ship towards a spot in the play-in tournament for the eighth and final seed.