The Portland Trail Blazers got dealt a double dose of injury news Thursday, with LaMarcus Aldridge (lower back contusion) and Mo Williams (right hip strain) undergoing MRIs in San Antonio, with the results confirming that both players will miss multiple games.
Aldridge’s MRI confirmed the three-time All-Star power forward suffered a lower back contusion in Wednesday night’s loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center. The injury occurred when Aldridge landed hard on his back after colliding with Spur center Aron Baynes at the 11:17 mark of the third quarter. Aldridge remained on the court for an extended period of time and had to be helped to the locker room by his teammates. X-rays taken after the game came back negative, though the MRI taken Thursday morning confirmed a soft tissue injury.
“Unfortunately we played a few games without (Aldridge), so we’re accustomed to that kind of style of play,” said Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews after Wednesday night’s game. “We’re going to fight every game, we’re going to compete. Now it’s just time for us to make our own luck. Get the 50/50 balls, turn these games around, stop waiting for it to happen and just go make it happen like we were doing earlier in the year.”
Aldridge potentially missing just two games seems like good news given how severe the injury looked when it occurred. However, the same could not be said for Williams’ prognosis.
Williams is expected to miss at least the next two weeks with a right hip strain, after which he will also be reevaluated. Williams missed the entire second half of Portland’s loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis after heading to the locker room midway through the second quarter and has not played since. Earl Watson picked up most of Williams’ minutes at point guard in Wednesday night’s game with CJ McCollum and Will Barton filling in at shooting guard.
Williams will miss at least eight games in the next two weeks and it’s possible he misses more depending on how the injury heals. The 6-1 combo guard had not missed a game due to injury this season before Wednesday, though he has missed four games at various times this season for personal reasons. Portland is 2-2 in those games.
While there’s never a good time for injuries, the team losing two of their most talented and veteran players is particularly ill-timed considering Portland is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The Trail Blazers are just 1.5 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors, a team they’ll host on Sunday without Aldridge and Williams, for the fifth seed and 3.5 games ahead of the Grizzlies and Mavericks for the seventh and eighth seeds.
“I would say it’s the most adversity that we’ve had to go against as a team (this season),” said Lillard Wednesday night. “With losing LA and Mo being out tonight, four losses in a row for the first time. It’s a really tough stretch. I think the type of year that we’ve turned this into, with us being 42-23, I think we’ve kind of give ourselves some room for error or some room for a time like this where we lose four games in a row unexpected. It’s time for us to turn it around.”