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Damian Lillard travels with Blazers, to miss ‘a couple more games’ with groin strain

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Damian Lillard will travel with the Portland Trail Blazers during their three-game road trip to Indiana, Atlanta and Orlando but is expected to miss “a couple more games” with a right groin strain, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.

Lillard suffered the untimely strain during the Blazers’ final game before the All-Star break, missing out on the mid-February festivities while recovering from the injury.

He’s missed the past three games and could miss a few more, likely not to return until March when they’d face the Orlando Magic at the tail end of the road trip.

The Blazers are now 1-2 without Lillard and 1-4 in their last five games, somehow still within three games of striking distance from the Memphis Grizzlies and their coveted eighth seed in the West.

Portland will need Lillard if it is to make a playoff push, but even if the Blazers fall short, it’s likely that won’t affect Terry Stotts’ position as head coach of the team.

Lillard put up surefire All-Star numbers, putting up career-highs in points (29.5 per game), assists (7.9), field goal percentage (46.0%), 3-pointers made (3.9), and free throws made (6.8).

The Blazers (26-33) have struggled to go on a long run as they have in prior seasons, only mustering a couple of four-game winning streaks during a trying 2019-20 campaign.

Backcourt partner CJ McCollum has held the fort in the meantime, leading the way in scoring the past three games, but they’ve lost a brutal stretch of games against the New Orleans Pelicans (twice) and the Grizzlies this month, which could seal their fate this season.