As the Trail Blazers await a Saturday-night game in Denver to find out if they meet the Nuggets or San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the NBA playoffs, there is time to rest.
And time to heal.
And one man who needs that time is Portland center Enes Kanter, who suffered an apparent left-shoulder separation in Monday night’s series-clinching win over Oklahoma City.
Kanter was back on the court at the team’s practice facility Friday.
“It’s getting there,” Kanter said. “It’s a process. The Blazers are doing a very good job of taking care of it. But obviously I’m not going to lie, it hurts pretty bad.
“I’m having a hard time changing my shirt or even eating food. It’s a process. I’m just taking it day by day.
“Normally, it’s about a month to heal it. We don't got a month. I'm just going to push through the pain.”
Can he play Monday, when the second-round series begins?
“I mean, it’s day by day and we’ll just see how it goes,” Kanter said.
There are two considerations – the chance of making the condition worse by playing and how much pain he can tolerate.
“It’s both,” said Kanter, who admitted . “It’s hard”
lifting his left arm over his head.
Kanter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and it would be understandable if he’s concerned about going into free agency with an injury. But he says that is not a consideration.
“We’re in a position now where you don’t think about your contract,” he said. “You don’t think about how much money you’re going to get. You don’t think about where you’re going to sign. The only thing you can do is just go out there and do whatever it takes to get a win, man.
“That was the reason I came back for the second half (of Monday’s game). When I went to the training room, it was worse. It was pretty bad. The doctor said, ‘Can you play?’
“I said, ‘I want to play. I’m going to try.’ Basically I played the game with my one arm.”
Adams took an injection at halftime and said, “it helped a little bit.”
He was playing against Steven Adams, one of the most physical players in the league.
“It was just a mental thing,” Kanter said. “I just had to perform for another 24 minutes.”
Kanter played 32:11 in Game 5 and most of it visibly in pain, with his left arm seemingly glued to the side of his body. He hit six of his nine shots and grabbed 13 rebounds – six of them at the offensive end.
It was a heroic game for him, considering the extent of the injury,
But there he was Friday, on the court working on his shooting.
Kanter began his activity in the gym with a pad strapped to his sore shoulder, but discarded it after a few minutes of work.
“It was cutting my body,” he said.
He remains, as he has throughout his time in a Portland uniform, thankful to be where he is.
“It’s amazing, man,” he said. “You see players play in the NBA for 14 or 15 years and they don’t even make the playoffs. In Oklahoma City I made the Western Conference finals and I made the Finals, too.
“But when I was with the Knicks, obviously, we weren’t going to make anything. I feel really blessed to be here.”
And the Blazers can only hope that when the second round arrives, Kanter will be out there on the floor grabbing more rebounds and working his physical offensive game at the low post.