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Report: Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard to undergo (not necessarily season-ending) surgery

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 05: Damian Lillard # 0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on from the bench prior to the game against the Miami Heat at Moda Center on January 05, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

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If Damian Lillard’s extended absence for an abdominal injury didn’t portend surgery, his re-extended absence gave even more reason for concern.

The (expected/feared) diagnosis is in.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

The Trail Blazers are just 16-24 and 10th in the Western Conference. Three teams – Spurs, Kings and Pelicans – are within 1.5 games overtaking Portland for that final play-in spot. C.J. McCollum remains sidelined by his own injury.

By the time Lillard is ready to return, the Trail Blazers might be out of the postseason race. At that point, it’d be increasingly likely Lillard would just sit the rest of the season.

Either way, Portland must evaluate the long-term health of the 31-year-old who could seek a massive contract extension this summer.