There is no doubt that injuries have marred this season for the Portland Trail Blazers, and Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report discusses how they have pushed the Blazers a particular direction in the 2021-22 season.
We have to throw the Portland Trail Blazers a mention here, even if the injuries they suffered may have ultimately done some good by triggering a retooling.
Few teams are as dependent on one player as the heliocentric Blazers are on Damian Lillard, a six-time All-Star who entered this season with an earned reputation as an NBA iron man. He didn’t miss a single contest until his fourth year and had never been sidelined for more than nine games in any season prior to this one.
If there’s a team that could say it was blindsided by injury to a star, it’s Portland.
An abdominal injury ended Dame’s season after a career-low 29 games.
As Hughes notes, it isn’t just about the loss of Damian Lillard to abdominal surgery.
On top of that, theoretically key offseason acquisition Larry Nance Jr. never got healthy enough to contribute (and was ultimately traded), CJ McCollum missed over a month with a collapsed lung (and was ultimately traded), Cody Zeller’s knee betrayed him and emerging forward Nassir Little underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in January.
Portland was 42-30 last year and made impressive on-paper upgrades to the roster over the summer. Tanking as part of a rebuild around Lillard could pay off, but injuries certainly sent the 2021-22 season down a much darker path than expected.
We are certainly hoping that next season proves brighter for Rip City.