Travis Outlaw Has Successful Foot Surgery, Out 3-5 Months

From the Blazers' twitter...

Travis Outlaw undergoes successful surgery on his left foot. Expected out 3 to 5 months.

When it comes to foot injuries there is all sorts of variability in terms of recovery times based on the severity of the stress fracture.  

If you're rushing to the conclusion that the Blazers are setting a longer recovery timeline for Outlaw because they got burned by rushing Martell Webster back last year, I would urge caution.  Two different players, two different feet, two different injuries, two different timelines, two different surgeries.  As simple as that.

Now, with that said, 3-5 months puts Travis Outlaw out a long time: from the middle of February (3 months) until the middle of April (5 months).  That's a long freaking time.  That's until after the All Star break; 40 plus games from today at the minimum.  

Obviously, there are some changes to come. Reminder: here is Dave's analysis on how the minutes will shake out in Travis Outlaw's absence.

Some notes on that subject as tweeted by Joe Freeman...

Coach Mac will have to abandon his "small" second unit w/o Outlaw and Mac says the Blazers "style of play has to change."

That means Mac can't play "spread basketball" anymore and beat teams with athleticism and shooting in the 2nd unit.

Instead, with Howard and Joel, the 2nd unit will be bigger and more rugged.

Another negative to keep in mind with all the injuries. Mac says he'll have to significantly cut back on practicing to keep bodies fresh.

Brian T. Smith on the same subject...

McMillan said the Blazers will primarily turn to Juwan Howard to replace Outlaw. McMillan added that rookie Dante Cunningham is unlikely to see much of an increase in playing time, even though he is slated as a back up power forward on the team's roster.

When asked whether the Blazers will try to add a new player through a trade or signing, McMillan said Portland's roster is filled with 15 players at the moment, and that the only way the Blazers could pick up a new player would be by trading or cutting someone currently in uniform. "We're going to go with the guys we got," McMillan said.    

Here's a nice piece from Casey Holdahl with what Outlaw makes of his injury.

"Things happen for a reason, that's my thing," said Outlaw. "That's how I'm looking at it. I feel like I got a lot of things to be thankful for, you know?"
...
"We've got a lot of players stepping up. When I get back there's not going to be some big rush to get mine. I'm just going to try to make sure I fit in. Do what is needed for the team to win."

The big issues to watch here are, in order of importance...

  • Will Nate McMillan continue to ride his small starting lineup indefinitely?  If so, can he keep all of his personalities happy and can he keep an undersized starting unit healthy?
  • Is Rudy Fernandez ready to stay on track offensively? Injuries, carry-over fatigue from the summer, and inconsistency from Rudy are no longer allowable. There's no margin of error from him.
  • Is Juwan Howard actually serviceable?  All pleasantries aside, is he able to fill minutes adequately?  If not, that's a big problem.
  • Is Dante Cunningham -- 4 year college guy, good hustle, smart player -- ready to step up?  Will Nate McMillan trust him to play rotation minutes?

Playoff teams respond to adversity.  Make no mistake, the loss of Travis Outlaw, on the heels of the loss of Nicolas Batum, is adversity.  

-- Ben Golliver | (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com) | Twitter

PS Thanks to The Thinker for getting to this news first in the fanshots.

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