Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

MEMPHIS – There were plenty of emotions late Wednesday night and none of them were good.

The feeling of defeat even came secondary after the Blazers back to back losses to New Orleans Tuesday and Memphis Wednesday night.

It's no way to head into an All-Star break.

The Trail Blazers will have a long time to think about things.

And losing Damian Lillard to an injury takes the breath out of Rip City. 

And that's exactly what happened Wednesday night. 

Carmelo Anthony entered the game for Lillard with 3:22 remaining in the game after Lillard came up limping following a drive to the basket. 

The Trail Blazers point guard walked straight to the locker room once play was whistled dead. 

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave an injury update on Lillard immediately following the game.

“He has a right groin strain and that’s all. We don’t know the severity. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow.”

Walking into the Blazers locker room, the feeling was somber.

Lillard sat in the corner holding a pack of ice with Portland's team of trainers periodically checking in with him.

The five-time All-Star will not participate in either the All-Star game Sunday night or in the three-point contest on Saturday.  

He said he realized it wouldn’t be smart to continue to play through the pain versus Memphis.

 

When it happened, I just felt it. I knew that I pulled it. It made no sense to be out there for the last few minutes and risk trying to play through it and make things worse. I walked off the court just fine even though it was painful... It was strong when [the trainers] were making me go against resistance. It was strong and wasn’t weak where I couldn’t do stuff. That was all I needed to know. That’s why I walked off. We did some exercises and stuff just to see that it was still strong [in the locker room], and it was. -- Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said postgame

The entire Trail Blazers’ bench stood up as soon as they noticed Lillard was in pain.

Nobody likes to see a player injured, especially the team's All-Star.

The 29-year-old Lillard is disappointed he won’t be participating this year.

“Obviously, it’s something that you look forward to, those festivities and having fun. My health comes first and I knew right away that it wasn’t going to happen. I will still be there and be a part of it, but I’m not going to be able to play.” 

Lillard has been on a historic tear as of late and heading into the All-Star break with the groin injury that nobody is exactly sure of the severity is unsettling.

But, in true Lillard-positive fashion, remains the rock of the franchise:

Now I know what I need to do for the next week and try to have myself ready to go. It almost happened with perfect timing, so we will see. -- Damian Lillard

The Trail Blazers are 25-31 on the season and need to finish the regular season 17-9 to have a winning record. 

They currently 9th place in the Western Conference, four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th and final spot. 

While the timing is unfortunate, it could be perceived as a blessing in disguise as the Blazers look to make a final push to become playoff eligible.

"I want to make sure that I'm healthy so when the break is over I'm rested. I'm going to do all that I can so that I'm ready as soon as possible."

As his postgame interview wrapped, he was asked if in his mind, he'll be ready to be back against New Orleans next Friday, and Lillard, nodded 'yeah.'

"We’ve got a lot of games left," he said. "The door is still open. Now, we’ve just got to be even better post All-Star break. It’s far from over. Believe that. It’s far from over.”