Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is set to miss his third straight game Friday night against the New York Knicks with a calf strain.
It’s the eighth time Lillard will sit in the team’s first 19 games. However, the team has managed to stay afloat with a 10-8 record, but that also includes Portland’s current four-game losing streak.
On the latest episode of The Fast Break Podcast, OregonLive.com reporter Aaron Fentress spoke about the level of concern Portland should have with Lillard sitting out.
It is a little concerning because you begin to wonder if Lillard is going to begin having minor injuries here and there because he is 32 now and there are a lot of miles on him and the way he plays. This team is 7-2 when Lillard starts and finishes a game compared to being 0-2 when he does not finish a game. Obviously they are a better team with him in the lineup, so you have to wonder if these back-to-back injuries will wind up costing him more games as the season goes on… This injury should definitely be a reason for concern.
Fentress also explained that he doesn’t feel Portland matches up well with very good teams if Lillard does not play.
I do not think they will beat many great teams without Lillard. I love Anfernee Simons, but Simons without Dame; I don’t see them being able to sustain long runs of winning because you just have to have stars in this league and Damian Lillard is their only legitimate superstar. They do have some rising stars in Anfernee and of course Jerami Grant is having a great season so far, but if Lillard misses a ton of time that will sink this team.
You can catch the full episode of the podcast here.