Update (4:23pm): CJ McCollum is NOT listed on the Trail Blazers injury report heading into Sunday's game vs. Pacers
As the Trail Blazers worked on their offensive sets and went over what the Pacers run offensively during Saturday’s practice, shooting guard CJ McCollum made his return to the practice court.
McCollum has missed the last three games with a left ankle sprain. He was happy to get back on the court with his teammates Saturday.
“I felt pretty good. It was good to get back out there, get hit by some screens, and move around a little bit. I’m glad we were able to get a practice in and get some stuff done,” McCollum said.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts emphasized that they won’t make a decision on McCollum’s availability against the Pacers until game day.
“He looked good. So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. We’re hopeful that he’ll play, but that won’t be decided until tomorrow,” Stotts said.
McCollum added, “We’ll see how I feel tomorrow -- get in my workout in the morning like I normally do and see how I feel. If I feel how I feel now -- [I'll] probably."
Friday marked one week since McCollum rolled his left ankle on a lay-up attempt against the Dallas Mavericks early in the second quarter.
The Blazers are currently 19-27 on the season, which puts them in 11th place in the Western Conference standings. Portland is 18-24 with McCollum in the lineup.
At this point in the season, the seven-year shooting guard realizes that his ankle most likely won't be back to 100 percent.
“[It’s] as good as it’s going to be,” McCollum said. “I feel good. I’m moving well. I can cut now. Last game I did some testing and it just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t able to do some of the things I wanted to do, chasing, cutting on it. So, I’ll do some more testing on it tomorrow, but if I feel how I feel now, and I’m pain free on most of my movements like I am now, I like my chances.”
This season, McCollum is averaging 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three.
McCollum says he has been going through treatment of “a lot of compression, no ice,” while his rehab has consisted of balance and resistance work, especially early on. McCollum added he has also been doing a lot of stretches and going through mobility work.
Now, as he nears closer to his return, McCollum is testing “tolerance stuff,” which includes lunges, squats, and getting back in the weight room.
“It’s been a little process. I always say rehab is harder than playing in a game because it’s just so time consuming and tedious work, working on stuff that you don’t normally work on, some of those little muscles and stuff around the body. I’m glad the process is almost over.”
But, McCollum hasn’t just been rehabbing over the past week he always has been reflecting.
Something he says he doesn’t do often.
The 28 year-old posted to his Instagram Friday to share how he is keeping life in perspective.
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I don’t reflect much but perspective is everything. 7 years ago I was wearing this book bag in a boot. Getting Starbucks for LA, Mo-Gotti and wings for D Wright. I still remember the DNPs, I still remember the stress and doubt from rehab among other things, I still remember the struggle. Thank the lord that struggle is over. Happy Friday. Keep your perspective as you strive to become a better version of you. The old version of you would be proud of how far you’ve come. Humble beginnings can lead to happy endings you just have to put the work in. 📷/ @bruceely
McCollum wrote, “I don’t reflect much but perspective is everything. Seven years ago, I was wearing this book bag in a boot. Getting Starbucks for LA, Mo-Gotti and wings for D Wright. I still remember the DNPs, I still remember the stress and doubt from rehab among other things, I still remember the struggle. Thank the lord that struggle is over. Happy Friday. Keep your perspective as you strive to become a better version of you.”
After Saturday's practice, McCollum admitted that it was his older brother Errick who sparked the deep thoughts.
I just kind of live in the moment and set goals and continue to try and achieve them, but sometimes it’s good to reflect. My brother and I had a good talk. He’s 32 now. He’s birthday was on the 22nd and he’s married. He found out they're having a boy. So, we just had some time to reflect, talk about somethings. When you get hurt, you have time to sit back and really evaluate your situation and your previous circumstances and time. It was just a moment where I was just sitting there, looking out the window, like ‘I live a good life’ and I need to keep that perspective. – Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said after Saturday’s practice
With McCollum reflecting on his life in the NBA, there’s no doubt that Rip City has been reflecting on the severity of McCollum’s ankle and how it could’ve been much worse.
This has been a season of serious injuries for the Blazers.
And, that in itself can force anyone to sit back and reflect.
With the Blazers hosting the Pacers Sunday night, hopefully it's a night to reflect on McCollum’s return.