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Damian Lillard to return tonight vs. Lakers after 5-game absence

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is set to make his return to the hardwood tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers after a five-game absence while he dealt with a sprained left ankle, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

The Blazers have scuffed without Lillard, going 2-3 through a tough stretch that saw him playing three of the top five teams in the league, picking up losses to the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs before the end of 2016, along with Wednesday night’s 125-117 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

It’ll take more than Lillard’s presence to right this ship, as Portland (15-22) went from being a middle-of-the-pack playoff team to chasing the Sacramento Kings for the last postseason spot.

Portland has lost 12 of its last 15 games and now has a huge opportunity with the Los Angeles Lakers (13-25) and the Detroit Pistons (16-21) coming to town in the next two games.

Lillard is averaging 27 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game this season — his running mate, C.J. McCollum, has averaged 31.2 points per game in his absence.

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