Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum will undergo an MRI on his left knee on Friday morning at 7:30 AM after injuring it during the second quarter of Thursday night's game against the Boston Celtics.
Batum sat at his locker post-game in street clothes with his left leg extended and said he wasn't able to bend it much. He used crutches, which he said were precautionary, to exit the locker room.
"I'm ok. Not very worried. I don't have a big knee," Batum said. "I can walk a little bit. That's why [the crutches] are precautionary, I use them tonight. Not that worried because I'll see tomorrow. I'm pretty confident."
Blazers coach Nate McMillan didn't provide any specifics and didn't tip his hand at all. "I don't know right now. They are going to do an MRI on his knee," Batum said. "I didn't really see what happened during the game. At halftime I was told he wouldn't return. It's amazing. it really is. To see this team go through things like this. Another guy with another knee. Hopefully nothing comes of the MRI tomorrow."
Batum said the injury occurred while he was playing defense. "I tried to block Paul Pierce, I tried to jump, I couldn't jump, I don't know why and I felt something stretch in my knee."
On the play in question, Celtics forward Paul Pierce took the ball to the basket with Batum guarding him and made a driving layup. Batum was backpedaling, never left the ground and there was no evident contact. He immediately started limping as the ball went through the hoop and was unable to jog back up the court. He bit his jersey and the Blazers called timeout, and Batum hopped off the court directly to the locker room. His exit from the game came at the 5:41 mark of the second quarter, after he played 14 minutes.
Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez started the second half and reserve rookie forward Luke Babbitt played more than a minute for the first time since Dec. 28. "He may have to play here in these games coming up," McMillan said of Babbitt, who finished with two points and nothing else in nine minutes of play.
Say this for Nicolas Batum: If the power of positive thinking could dictate health, he would live 200+ years injury-free.
Batum, Portland's starting small forward, is averaging 12 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31 minutes per game so far this season.
Here's video of the play.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter