Damian Lillard is making his way toward full health while from abdominal surgery. What that means for his potential return to the floor this season, though, the Portland Trail Blazers still won’t officially confirm.

Portland announced on Sunday that Lillard has passed the “initial phase” of his rehabilitation “without setback,” and will be re-evaluated in mid-to-late March after beginning the “reconditioning phase” of his recovery next week.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has progressed through the initial phase of his rehabilitation from abdominal surgery without setback. Lillard will begin the reconditioning phase of his rehab protocol next week, which includes the continuation of his strengthening program along with basketball skill activity. He will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.

Lillard underwent surgery on his midsection on January 13th addressing longstanding core pain that contributed to his career-worst start to 2021-22. Though Portland initially announced he’d “miss at least six weeks,” the assumption since Lillard went under the knife is that his season would be over unless the Blazers vaulted up the Western Conference standings, firmly into playoff positioning.

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That didn’t happen before the trade deadline, and Portland forecasted its plans for an on-the-fly rebuild by moving C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and Larry Nance Jr. in a series of trades that prioritized future flexibility. After the new-look Blazers won their first four games heading into the All-Star break, the team announced that Jusuf Nurkic would be out at least four weeks while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Portland, remember, only keeps its first-round pick this season if it falls in the lottery.

All momentum has long suggested Lillard won’t play again until next season. While that may be a tough pill for some Blazers fans to swallow, it should be heartening to have official word from the team that Lillard’s condition is steadily improving.