The Trail Blazers will play ‘the most important game of our lives’ Thursday night vs. the Brooklyn Nets, and Portland is a heavy favorite to win.
But one glaring concern is the health of Blazers starting shooting guard CJ McCollum.
On Tuesday, NBCSNW Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes reported McCollum had suffered a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced), which occurred during Portland game vs. Denver on August 6.
McCollum had just 8 points in the Blazers 134-131 win over Dallas Tuesday before the news broke, shooting just 2-14 from the field. He did sink two clutch free throws in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]
The Trail Blazers were not available to the media Wednesday, so CJ’s status for Thursday’s game remained a mystery. When an injury report came out Thursday morning, McCollum was not mentioned, in any capacity.
“CJ’s a warrior,” Lillard said of McCollum postgame Tuesday. “We know he’s a little banged up. We know he’s out there also giving everything that he got and he’s in the fight with us. He’s there. We appreciate every little thing that he’s capable of giving us at this moment until he get his situation right. So, we’ve just got to rally with him, help him through it… He’s shown a different type of toughness right now.”
The lone name on the Trail Blazers injury report was rookie Nassir Little, who will be OUT Thursday due to dehydration.
Will McCollum be limited and could his status be updated closer to the game? Certainly.
But playing through a back fracture speaks to the toughness Lillard eluded to.
McCollum has an over/under of 18.5 points.
You can catch Thursday's Blazers-Nets game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers with tip-off set for 6pm. Our coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. with ‘Blazers Game Day’ followed by ‘Blazers Warm-up’ and ‘Blazers Pregame.’