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Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard getting more consultation on abdominal injury, out at least three more games

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 31: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at Arena on December 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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Damian Lillard just can’t shake this abdominal injury.

He played through pain in the Tokyo Olympics, struggled to begin the NBA season, missed five games, received a cortisone injection, returned and played much better. But he sat for the Trail Blazers’ loss to the Hawks on Monday and isn’t returning imminently.

Trail Blazers release:

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard will undergo further evaluation and consultation concerning his lower abdominal tendinopathy, the team announced today.

Lillard will miss Portland’s next three games against Miami (Jan. 5), Cleveland (Jan. 7) and Sacramento (Jan. 9). He will be reevaluated next week.

This sounds ominous.

Even with Lillard finally playing well lately, he can’t stay on the court. Hopefully, the results of evaluation and consultation won’t be as drastic as feared.

This could quickly become a lost season in Portland. The Trail Blazers are just 14-22. C.J. McCollum is already injured. Anfernee Simons can step up, and Dennis Smith Jr. can back him up at point guard. But Portland is totally built around Lillard.

For now, at least.

Lillard has said he’s not requesting a trade. In fact, he has called not joining a big-market super team part of his identity.

But the Trail Blazers must decide how they want to handle Lillard going forward. They could give him another massive extension (on top of the three additional seasons he already has on his contract), trade him or try to stay the course.

Obviously, health is a major consideration in evaluating the 31-year-old’s long-term outlook