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Blazers Guard Anfernee Simons (Ankle) Upgraded to “Questionable” vs. Pelicans

Simons might return after a two-week absence.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons has been upgraded from “Out” to “Questionable” against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, as Blazers correspondant Casey Holdahl reports.

Anfernee Simons (ankle) has been upgraded to questionable but Jusuf Nurkic (calf), Justise Winslow (ankle) and Ryan Arcidiacono (back) remain out for tonight’s game versus the Pelicans.

Simons initially suffered the Grade 2 ankle sprain on February 14, so to see him this close to a return just two weeks later is surprising to say the least. While no specific timetable was given for Simons’ recovery, many anticipated an absence of 4-6 weeks, minimum.

Given that the injury occurred just before the NBA All-Star Break, if Simons plays tonight, he will have missed just three games of action – an incredibly fortunate turn of events for the Trail Blazers, who have been playing without Nurkic in their starting lineup since February 1. To have another starter back so soon could help bolster a late-season push for Playoff relevance in the West.

Simons, 23, is averaging 21.4 points per game for Portland in his first year of a 4-year, $100-million contract. His impending return indicates two things: Simons’ injury was perhaps not as severe as originally anticipated (or at least his recovery has been expedited), and the Trail Blazers are NOT tanking.

Let’s be clear, we would not be seeing Simons return so soon if Portland planned on losing games.

When Simons does take the court, it will mean a return to the bench for either Matisse Thybulle or Cam Reddish, both of whom were acquired at the NBA trade deadline and have been playing expanded roles in Simons’ absence.