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Damian Lillard Focusing on Injury Rehab Before Playoff Push

Lillard talked postgame about his health and the team’s approach after the All-Star break.

Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard exited Wednesday’s loss against the Memphis Grizzlies with a grade 1-2 groin strain. The injury will force him to miss All-Star festivities in Chicago, although he still will perform as his rap alter ego Dame DOLLA. Lillard talked with reporters after the game about missing All-Star Weekend events, saying he has to focus on rehabbing his injury:

“Obviously that’s something that you look forward to, those festivities and having fun, but my health is first and I knew right away that wasn’t going to happen.”

Lillard also described what he felt in the moment when the injury happened:

“I knew I pulled it, it made no sense to be out there for the last few minutes of the game and risk trying to play through it and making it worse. But I walked off the court just fine even though it was like, a little bit painful. I came in and it was strong when they was making me go against resistance and stuff like that. It was strong, wasn’t like, weak and I couldn’t do stuff. That was all I needed to know.”

And the guard stressed that Portland isn’t out the playoff hunt heading into the break:

“After this break is over, it’s on.”

A timetable for Lillard’s return will likely be more clear after his scheduled MRI on Thursday, but the franchise star is anticipating a quick recovery.