DALLAS – A bad loss Tuesday for the Trail Blazers might be a costly one, too.
Star point guard Damian Lillard rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter and later had to be carted from the locker room to the team bus following the Blazers’ 115-109 loss to the lowly Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
With about five minutes left in Tuesday’s game, Lillard jumped to make a pass in the lane and landed on the foot of Dallas center Sal Mejri. His ankle rolled with all his weight on it. He played the final five minutes of the game with a slight hobble, but he said once the game ended, more pain and swelling rushed to the ankle.
Lillard was transported from locker room to team bus via cart because of his sprained left ankle. pic.twitter.com/62CQVMMqd7— Jason Quick (@jwquick) April 4, 2018
The Blazers have four regular season games remaining before the playoffs begin April 14. Portland plays at Houston on Thursday, and Lillard said he will wait and see how the ankle responds.
“I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I’m going to be smart about it,’’ Lillard said. “It’s the end of the season, we are going into the playoffs, so I have to be smart that one thing doesn’t turn into another.’’
Earlier this season, Lillard badly rolled his right ankle when he stepped on Chandler Parsons Nov. 20 game at Memphis. He didn’t miss a game.
This injury made it difficult for him to dress, particularly when he had to push his left leg through his jeans.
“It’s sore, man,’’ Lillard said. “I was just in a vulnerable position … it’s painful. I was able to finish the game, but it was worse when the game was over. (I’m) dealing with a lot more pain and swelling.’’
Portland (48-30) has already clinched a playoff spot, and is in third place in the Western Conference, with a three-game cushion in the loss column over San Antonio and Utah.
The Blazers are 5-3 in games Lillard has missed this season. If he is unable to play in Houston on Thursday, Shabazz Napier will likely start with CJ McCollum and Wade Baldwin IV handling the backup duties. As a starter this season, Napier is averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds.