The Blazers split their games on their big East Coast road swing, despite a rash of injuries including point guard Damian Lillard with an abdominal strain. Lillard missed the win over the Philadelphia 76ers but returned to play in a loss versus the New York Knicks. Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest reports that a hip bump aggravated Lillard during the matchup against the Knicks.
“I think a couple days off was really good for my abdominal area. It didn’t give me no issues, but then maybe in the second quarter I drove to the rim and I hit hip to hip with somebody and I just got a little dead leg a little bit.”
The five-time All-Star added, “My hip was just real sore.”
Lillard faced multiple double teams from the Knicks, further testing his endurance.
“I’m a player that’s in attack mode and I was attacking pretty much two and three people,” Lillard said. “We set the screens higher, they had bigs up. Thibs was yelling at them, ‘get him, get him, get him,’ like they wanted to just send guys at me.
I’m not just going to give into that. I’m going to try to attack and find ways, and that takes energy, especially over the course of an NBA game… That’s tiring. Other than that, physically – I felt good.”
Meanwhile, wing Robert Covington took a hit to the thigh during the game.
“I got a bruise in my thigh from Mitchell Robinson setting an illegal screen, but I’ll power through it. I’m feeling it. I got worked on after the game. But like I said, I’m a tough guy and I’ve been hit with a lot of different things. I know how to play through it.”
“These next couple of days off before our next game is going to play significantly into me getting back .”
Lillard recognized that the injuries took their toll.
Lillard added, “We came in here wanting to go 4-2, but I think given the circumstances, if we come on this trip and we leave splitting it, 3-3, we’ll take it… It was a little disappointing not to get this one tonight.”
Hopefully everyone can get some rest before the team faces the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.