Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is leaving the Orlando bubble and the 2020 NBA Playoffs, returning to Portland for an examination of his injured right knee. Lillard hurt the knee during Game 4 of the Blazers’ first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers. An initial MRI proved inconclusive. After a second MRI, the injury was diagnosed as a sprained knee.
Lillard was scheduled to miss Game 5 of the series, which was subsequently canceled as the players from various NBA teams—including the Blazers and Lakers—refused to take the floor today in protest of racial violence.
Though the NBA’s isolation protocols would allow Lillard to return to the bubble, and to play, were he physically able, he would have to undergo a period of testing for COVID-19 before being allowed contact. With the Blazers down 1-3 in the seven-game series, the point may be moot even if the playoffs do return from today’s boycott.
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.
Portland's Damian Lillard will leave the NBA campus in Orlando on Thursday and return to Portland for further examination of his injured right knee.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
The Trail Blazers have released a statement as well:
Damian Lillard will leave the NBA campus in Orlando on Thursday & return to Portland for further examination of his injured right knee. Lillard's availability to return to the Orlando campus is yet to be determined. Further updates will be provided as necessary.— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) August 27, 2020