Trail Blazers' Ed Davis targets early return from sprained ankle

Trail Blazers' Ed Davis targets early return from sprained ankle

Trail Blazers center Ed Davis says he will be back from injury sooner than later.

Davis on Sunday told NBC Sports Northwest he expects to return from his sprained right ankle either Saturday at San Antonio or Monday in Denver.

Davis rolled the ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s game against the Clippers and left the arena in a walking boot after x-rays showed no break and an MRI confirmed a sprain.

On Saturday, the team said he would be evaluated in seven-to-14 days.

Davis before Sunday’s game against Memphis was no longer wearing the boot and was walking without a limp. There was swelling on the outside of the ankle, but Davis said he was confident his return would be closer to the seven days than the 14 days.

If he returns against San Antonio, it would be seven days after the team announced the timeline.

Davis is having one of the best seasons of his career as he has emerged as the NBA’s top reserve center. He is averaging 5.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 19 minutes a game. He has led the Blazers in rebounding 23 times this season and has recorded six double-doubles. If he returns in San Antonio, Davis will have missed only three games because of the injury.

In the first game without Davis, coach Terry Stotts used Meyers Leonard and rookie Caleb Swanigan at backup center. Leonard had six points, five rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes and Swanigan had four points, four rebounds and two assists in nine minutes.


Blazers Outsiders: Blow up the roster, or let the slump blow by?


Blazers Outsiders: Blow up the roster, or let the slump blow by?

The Blazers are in the midst of the team's worst stretch of the season, having dropped 10 of their last 15 games. The offense is sputtering, the defense is shaking, and players and fans alike have been left scratching their heads as they look for answers. So, how do the Blazers turn it all around? Is it time to blow up the roster and move on, or is it time to hunker down and weather the storm while this slump blows by? The Blazers Outsiders give us their thoughts in this week's Outsiders Roundtable: 

JOE SIMONS: My favorite holiday tradition is here: Rip City debating whether or not the Blazers should blow things up and start over! Oh, how I look forward to it each December.
Despite how it may feel, this the best record the Blazers have had through 27 games since 2014. More importantly, the contracts in place don’t allow the necessary flexibility to dismantle the roster and rebuild around Dame. So, shall we make a big trade? I say no. A big trade has to involve CJ, and my stance on the issue hasn’t changed: don’t trade CJ unless the offer is VERY attractive. Shipping off one of the best guards in the league because the fan base is bored will always be a lousy justification.
My approach is to survive December, enjoy the softer January schedule and see where we are at the all-star break. If this team is way out of the playoff picture, maybe something drastic gets done. If they are in the playoff mix, maybe Chief, and his lovely contract, get shipped off and the Blazers try and make a run at the second round in an all-of-a-sudden wide open West. For now, just enjoy the holidays, the occasional win, and let’s regroup on Groundhog’s Day.

CHRIS BURKHARDT: SELL. SELL. SELL. Sorry, I was just checking my stock investments. As for the Blazers, hunker down Rip City! To quote the great Dennis Green, the Blazers "are who we thought they were." That's not to say they are awful, but it is to say they aren't great. Sure, they are playing their worst basketball of the season, but maybe that's a good thing. It's not how you start, it's how you finish, and there is a lot of season left. Nice to get the stinkers out of the way, right?  At this point last year we were asking many of the same questions as the Blazers sat at 15-13, the exact same record they have right now. How did they finish? Well, they put together a 13-game win streak to get back in the playoff hunt and finished the season with 49 wins. Sure, they were swept in the playoffs, but the point remains valid - There is plenty of time to turn this baby around. That being said, while I'm not in favor of a blown up, I am in favor of a shakeup. I have said it many times and I will say it again, you know the Trail Blazers have turned the corner as a roster when Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu are key bench contributors, not starters. If Neil Olshey can do something to improve the small forward and power forward positions while keeping Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic in town, then watch out. This 5-10 stretch will be nothing but a little blip on the radar of the past... BUT that is a very big "if." 

DAN MARANG: Barring a major shake-up I’ve always felt this team runs up against the ceiling of pretty damn good but not great team. Damian Lillard continues to amaze and is charting his path to the greatest Trail Blazer of all time and I can’t help but wonder what he could do with a truly great supporting cast. With that in mind I’ve been a proponent of breaking up this iteration of the Blazers since LaMarcus Aldridge left for the San Antonio Spurs. It’s not that I think that CJ McCollum is bad, or that Jusuf Nurkic isn’t a very good big, it’s just that the pieces don’t fit together optimally. Portland needs to get bigger, longer and more athletic. Even teams like the Memphis Grizzlies who have bucked the trend of pace and space have added guys to their roster in between Mike Conley and Marc Gasol that are more “new age” than “grit & grind.” Jaren Jackson Jr. looks like he was built in a lab designed for today’s NBA. If you look at Portland’s roster who’s the guy that bends defenses outside of Damian Lillard? Who has the gravity and/or the constant mismatch that teams have to account for on every possession? Outside of Lillard and occasionally McCollum, that guy just doesn’t exist. I really like Nurkic as a 3rd option but that lack of a forward, a guy who’s 6’7"-to-6’10" who can cover multiple guys on the defensive end and be more than a singular offensive threat- whether it be catch and shoot, mid-post, driver, etc. there just isn’t a guy in that range who can tick all of the boxes.

These are the options for Portland going forward- hope & pray that Zach Collins hits the hyper-speed drive on his development and he actualizes what we’ve been told- that he’s a young Kevin McHale, LaMarcus Aldridge or Rasheed Wallace. I can’t get to that level of belief, but there are certainly folks who still hold tight to that.

Option two, a perfect scenario falls in Portland’s lap on the trade market- a true 2-way forward becomes available and they want exactly what Portland has to offer without sacrificing the farm to get it. Highly unlikely, but weirder things have happened in the NBA.

Option three, Portland opts to move one of their more valuable parts ie; McCollum, Nurkic and/or Collins. Again, highly unlikely but if things spiral out of control, teams will come calling.

Option four, blow it up. Full nuclear. With the team in a  not so solid position with ownership, I see this a zero-percent chance of happening.

This is where the frustration stems from, a lot of these options just aren’t all that appealing. But the clock is ticking on Portland’s season and Lillard’s prime. Something will have to give.

ALEX HAIGH: You’ve been in this for two decades. You’ve had some good times, but mostly rough patches paired with a few bright spots which for some reason, are the only memories you reference when rationalizing why you continue to stay in this thing despite the constant disappointment, anxiety and stress. You keep blaming their failures on the people that sort of raised them, and maybe that’s fair, but it’s not the only reason it isn’t working. You’ve got a long history of making excuses for them, telling yourself that maybe if you were just more supportive, things would turn around. But they don’t. And deep down, you’re a little scared they never will. I’m not describing your loveless marriage, I’m describing your relationship with the Portland Trail Blazers. But what do you do when you’ve realized your fate as a Trail Blazers fan? Do you run? Do you stay, knowing things would always be a little bit worse? (This is sort of a quote from Love Actually, and possibly, your parents’ loveless marriage.) My answer is you just freakin’ deal with it, you bozo. What are you going to do, go be a fan of a different basketball team? You’re going to be a bandwagon fan, really? Actually no, go ahead and root for the Knicks, a bad team, just to prove you’re not one of “those” people. Something weird will happen and in two years they’re going to be amazing and then everyone is going to call you a fraud because the only gear you own is a Nike iPhone X phone case with the Knicks logo on it. Then, the guilt and shame will force you to get on eBay and buy some old Knicks windbreaker that has a ketchup stain on it just so you can keep up the façade? That sounds exhausting. And you know what’s not exhausting? Keeping the same level of exhaustion you’re already at as a Trail Blazers fan. Just stick with the team, something good is bound to happen. What was this blog supposed to be about?

Portland Trail Blazers elevate play sets with latest Thumb twist

Portland Trail Blazers elevate play sets with latest Thumb twist

We've talked about Terry Stotts and his “Thumb” set before as it’s perhaps the most recognizable play set from the Portland Trail Blazers’ offense. Over the years the Blazers have run sets called “Punch,” “Fist," and “Up” out of Thumb.

In a tribute to its versatility, I noticed yet another twist to Thumb that Stotts ran against an overeager opponent just a couple of weeks ago.

In the Blazers’ game against the Orlando Magic on Nov. 28, Portland ran an elevator doors play out of Thumb that I thought was a nice adaptation by Stotts. If you’re not familiar with elevator doors, it’s pretty simple to understand. It refers to two players standing side-by-side some distance apart, and after a shooter runs between them, they close shoulder-to-shoulder. The screens look like a set of elevator doors closing, thus the nickname.

Against Orlando, Portland ran this play twice in a span of four minutes. Stotts and his coaching staff noticed that the Magic — and guard Terrence Ross in particular — were overplaying their flare screens to the edges out of Thumb. As a counter, Stotts had Nik Stauskas run up the middle and through the elevator doors screens as a means to punish Ross. Since the Magic defender was already shaded to the outside, it made it more difficult for him to respond to a screen in the middle of the floor.

This is exactly what we've been wanting to see moving into this segment of the season. Part of Portland’s recent struggles have been because teams have been able to gather film on them and adapt to their new rotations. How Stotts counters those counters will be interesting to watch all season, and this elevator doors play is a perfect example of that very thing. 

Watch the full video breakdown above.

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed as the Blazers fell to the Grizzlies

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed as the Blazers fell to the Grizzlies

The Portland Trail Blazers just couldn’t find consistency on the second night of a back-to-back, falling to the Grizzlies at the Grindhouse in Memphis.

Let’s get you caught up with everything you might have missed from the Blazers 92-83 loss to the Grizzlies.

After getting off to quick start and a big lead, the Blazers fourth quarter problems once again came back to the haunt them. Dwight Jaynes shared some thoughts and ideas on what Portland could do to take a step forward in the right direction: It's time for Trail Blazers to find a consistent rotation

While Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic had a mostly forgettable night, CJ McCollum came up huge for the Big 3. He scored 40 points while adding five rebounds and two assists for the Blazers. Jamie Hudson recapped McCollum’s 40-point game in the Blazers loss: History in Memphis: How the city changed the trajectory of CJ McCollum's career

Jamie Hudson, Dwight Jaynes and Peter Socotch shared some quick thoughts from the scene immediately after the game: Rapid Reaction: Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

Having now lost 10 of their last 15 games, the Blazers will look to break out of their slump against the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors. Peter Socotch noted Portland’s lack of success through two physical, but close games: For the Portland Trail Blazers, it's "nut check" time

For the Portland Trail Blazers, it's "nut check" time

For the Portland Trail Blazers, it's "nut check" time

The Trail Blazers arrived in Memphis having lost 9 of their last 14 games and looked to right the ship vs. a Grizzlies team that also jumped out to a fast start to the season, only to stumble in six of their past nine. 

Unfortunately for Portland, CJ McCollum was the only Blazer hot enough to combat the chilly night in Memphis, Tennessee. 

McCollum tied a season high with 40 points on 16 of 27 shooting, which accounted for half of the Blazers made field goals in the Blazers 92-83 loss to the Grizzlies. Take CJ out of the equation, the Blazers shot just 26.7% from the field, including a 4-18 night from Damian Lillard and 1 for 15 night from Jusuf Nurkic. Portland has now lost 10 of their last 15 and are desperately searching for answers. 

“We can’t do that in the Western Conference,” CJ McCollum said. “Every game is critical… We’ve got to turn the tide immediately.”

The Trail Blazers jumped out to a 12-5 start and took the Western Conference by storm, claiming the West’s top spot briefly. They have since fallen back to earth. Hard. 

The once over-achieving second unit has almost completely fallen off the map. The re-insertion of Maurice Harkless into the rotation has not gone well. Teams are trapping Dame and CJ forcing them to live or die by their shot. 

“On the whole, we haven’t played well,” head coach Terry Stotts said of the Blazers play since their 6-game road trip that extended both coasts heading into Thanksgiving. “Certainly not to the level that we were playing the first thirteen games of the season.”

The Blazers lost two physical, but close, games on this brief two-game road trip.

Last season, after an up and down first half to the 2017-18 season, the Blazers rode a 13-game win streak out of the All-Star break and clinched third place in the Western Conference. Their season came to an abrupt end with a first round sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans leaving a lot of “what ifs” on the table.

“It seems like we go through this once a year where we go on a streak and it’s terrible and it’s the worst thing in the world and we overcome it,” McCollum said. “Then, the year ends and you look back on it and you’re like, ‘man, if we could have just got those games.’ And it’s like we’re saying it again. We could have got those games.”

The Blazers haven’t played poorly in their slump. Head coach Terry Stotts liked his team’s performance in his team’s games vs. the Clippers and Nuggets, which both ended up in the “L” column.

Now, 10 of the Blazers next 12 games are against playoff contending teams, starting with the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, Friday night. 

“It’s nut check time, man,” CJ McCollum said. “Coaches can only do so much… it’s on us.”

It's time for Trail Blazers to find a consistent rotation

It's time for Trail Blazers to find a consistent rotation

MEMPHIS – What are we to make of the Trail Blazers’ recent misadventures? I will attempt to address that as best I can.

Without the help of the team, which always seems to think everything is just fine.

The Trail Blazers followed a familiar script Wednesday night, jumping to a big lead, then squandering it and then coming back to make it a game.

Only to implode in the final minutes and lose 92-83.

But let’s take a dive into the bigger picture. There are obvious issues having to do with lineups, substitutions and why things are going wrong late in games.

First, it’s getting more difficult by the day to figure out this team’s starting lineup and bench. Coach Terry Stotts has always been a bit quirky with that stuff but this season it’s been more than that.

Maurice Harkless was given a precautionary night off to rest and in his place as a starter came Jake Layman. Which is the way this team opened the season, rather successfully, I might add.

But very often a player will reach the starting lineup for a game or two and then not play AT ALL in a following game. Layman did that for quite a spell. Seth Curry did once, too.

The bench was outscored again, this time 38-15 but it’s important to point out, the bench is different from what it was earlier in the season. Curry, a staple earlier who played down the stretch of Tuesday’s game, did not play at all Wednesday.

I’m not sure what you say to a player when you do that to him, but it certainly doesn’t breed confidence or consistency.

Nik Stauskas usually gets a few minutes here and there and very few three-point shots – which is his standout attribute.

Portland, in fact, ran a play for Stauskas to shoot a three to open the fourth quarter (which he made) but he finished the game with just two three-point attempts.

And seriously, this guy is a home-run hitter, not a bunter. I’m not clear why – on a team struggling to find three-point shooters – he isn’t getting more of them.

Stotts, speaking of three-point shooters, had Meyers Leonard up in the second half at the scorer’s table to go in the game but then pulled him back and inserted Caleb Swanigan – who had played only 106 minutes all season.

Stotts, at that point, appeared frustrated and just about at wit’s end.

In the final four minutes of the game, Portland stuck almost exclusively with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum going one-on-one and drawing a crowd when they did.

I understand they are the go-to players and have no problem with them taking all the big shots but I can tell you it’s much more efficient to move the ball around and move bodies before getting it to them – complicating the chances of a double-team. And too, wide-open shots for other players are often better than contested shots for good players.

Stotts was asked after the game if enough of his players touched the ball on offense the last two games:

“Two different games,” he said. “You know, with Houston, a lot of switching, which leads to a lot of one-on-ones. I think Dame and CJ are our two best options. That being said, I think we run a lot of sets where Nurk touches it, CJ and Dame, Evan, so… I don’t know. The answer to your question is yes.”

I would say late in the game Wednesday that wasn’t the case. Nurkic got a shot off an inbounds play and when Lillard was trapped in a corner but mostly it was the Dame and CJ Show against most of the Memphis defenders.

And that didn’t work.

Players do not normally play well when used in inconsistent patterns. Consistent minutes maximize consistent play. It’s why most coaches set up a playing rotation that sticks with players through good and bad and allows them to become comfortable in their role – and not looking over their shoulder at the bench after their first missed shot.

I do not think the Trail Blazers have found that rotation yet. But somehow, they better.

History in Memphis: How the city changed the trajectory of CJ McCollum's career

History in Memphis: How the city changed the trajectory of CJ McCollum's career

Entering the Trail Blazers' game in Memphis, a big storyline was how well CJ McCollum has played against the Grizzlies over his five-year career.  McCollum averaged 19.8 points per game against Memphis, which is his highest scoring average against any Western Conference opponent. Last season, McCollum averaged 30.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and two steals in the four-games series against the Grizzlies.

Not too shabby, huh?

Well, Wednesday night, Midrange McCollum was in full force in Memphis.

McCollum got the Trail Blazers going early with 10 first quarter points. Portland had a 20-10 advantage in the paint after one. The problem was-- The ball wasn’t really falling for anyone else not named McCollum, especially after the first and the Blazers fell to the Grizzlies 92-82 on Wednesday.  

“After a really good first quarter, the rest of three quarters were a grind. We’ve had trouble scoring, part of it was their defense. I thought our offense never really got on track after that first quarter,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told reporters postgame.

As a team, Portland shot 36.8% from the floor after hitting 32-of-87 shots and shooting 27.3% from three. McCollum himself made half of the Blazers field goals.


The Trail Blazers shooting guard went 16-of-27 from the field, including 2-of-5 from three and 6-of-7 from the free throw line to finish with 40 points, which ties his season-high.

“I tired to be aggressive, man. Back-to-backs, I know it’s tough on the body. A lot of traveling and it’s a mental game, so I tried to psyche myself out. Got some treatment early this morning, like I always do and just tried to give myself the best chance to feel as fresh as possible,” McCollum told reporters.

McCollum has now scored at least 36 points in four of his last eight games against the Grizzlies.

“As the game went along I thought we still did a pretty good job defending, but the ball didn’t go in for us. CJ was the only person making shots,” McCollum’s backcourt mate, Damian Lillard told reporters in the locker room.


It was April 29th of the 2015 NBA Playoffs when McCollum had a breakout playoff game and Blazers fans remember it like it was yesterday. McCollum scored 33 points in Game 5 of the Blazers 99-93 loss to Memphis. That was his second year in the league. After dealing with injuries his rookie year, McCollum came off the bench in that playoff series playing behind Arron Afflalo.

It was the end of the series, but really, it was the beginning of McCollum’s NBA career. He burst onto the national scene following that Game 5 performance and he’ll never forget it.

“I like this city...They changed the trajectory of my career and I’m appreciative of it,” McCollum said. 

But McCollum’s 40-piece wasn’t enough to defeat Memphis… So, what is going on with the Blazers?


McCollum feels it all goes back to “having lulls.”

The Blazers fall to 15-13 on the season and 5-9 on the road. In the locker room the players are talking about their frustrations.

“We’re losing winnable games and you can’t do that in the Western Conference. It seems like we go through this once a year,” McCollum said.

The players were also showing their frustrations on the court.

“When you feel like something wasn’t called right, we’re gonna tell them. We don’t have time to be soft out here- not to the refs, not to the other team, it’s a lot on the line every night, so if somebody wants to argue with the ref, argue with the ref, but make sure that it translates to aggressive play on the court,” McCollum said.

Both Lillard and Al-Farouq Aminu were charged with technical fouls for arguing calls.

The frustration is bound to happen when both Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic are not making their typical shots.  

Lillard and Nurkic were a combined 5-of-33.

Nurkic scored two points in the loss, after making just one field goal on the night and had zero trips to the free throw line.

“I struggled… If I played a little bit better offensively, we’ve got a chance to win… It was definitely not my night,” Nurkic said.

“As the game went along I thought we still did a pretty good job defending, but the ball didn’t go in for us. CJ was the only person making shots,” Lillard said.

The Blazers will need their ‘Big 3’ as they gear up to host the Toronto Raptors on Friday and a chance to right the ship.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

USA Today

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have one of the best defenses in the league and they showed it off to the Blazers first hand on Wednesday. In Grind City the Grizzlies help Portland to a season-low 83 points and 36% shooting from the field. Now the Blazers limp back home after an 0-2 road trip to take on the league's best team, the 22-7 Toronto Raptors. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Blazers 83 - Grizzlies 92 

Dwight Jaynes, Trail Blazers' Insider: Nothing but Lillard and CJ isos in the final three or four minutes. Another late game breakdown. Ugly loss.

​​​​​​Jamie Hudson, Trail Blazers' Reporter: Without CJ McCollum on Wednesday night in Memphis it would've been a really ugly game for the Blazers. Just as we have seen in the last couple games, the Blazers ran out of gas in the fourth.  It looked like for both Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard, the second night of a back-to-back was not only effecting their legs, but their shots as well, but you also give credit to the Memphis defense.

Peter Socotch, Producer on the Road: CJ McCollum continues his dominance against the Grizzlies. And while his 40 points were impressive, it came out of basic survival for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard couldn't get his shot to drop, even after he changed shoes at halftime. Nurkic was 1 for 15... my goodness. The bench didn't do much once again, although I did like what Stauskas provided throughout the night. The Blazers are up the river without a paddle. If you thought they got right, guess again.

***Be sure to check back here throughout tonight for locker room videos with Coach Stotts and the players, plus locker room reports from Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes***

NEXT UP: The Blazers return home to take on the Toronto Raptors on Friday, December 12th. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm with coverage beginning at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Scoop Podcast with Chad Doing: A passionate fan who loves Nurk, MLB to PDX, and Calvin Klein

Scoop Podcast with Chad Doing: A passionate fan who loves Nurk, MLB to PDX, and Calvin Klein

Hold on to your butts!!!

(I imagine this week’s Scoop Podcast guest enjoys Jurassic Park and that line just seems so fitting).

This week’s Trail Blazers guest is one of the biggest Blazers fans I know and I’m very fortunate to get to work beside him in the media.

Chad Doing from Rip City Radio joins me for a fun-filled half hour.  

We start the podcast off with a bang after I find out how his mom would describe him as a sports fan -- The word 'emotional' did get brought up. 

And, of course we talk about his love for Bosnian Beast, Jusuf Nurkic.

Plus, does Chad think Portland can support more pro sports teams? What about Major League Baseball? One thing is for sure. He's down with the idea of spending a nice summer day at the ballpark on the river!

Also, it’s time to get the lowdown on how Chad first got started in Sports Talk Radio.  

I should also probably apologize to Travis Demers for trying to get an embarrassing story about him out of Chad!

And then there’s this --- Why is Chad’s face on fire?? And, he enjoys when his face is burning? Say what?

Plus, calling Calvin Klein, Chad might be looking for a sponsorship….

Check out all of that and more on this week's Scoop Podcast below!

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Memphis Grizzlies

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Memphis Grizzlies

It’s the second night of a back-to-back for the Trail Blazers as Portland gets set to take on Memphis on the road. Before the two tip-off both Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff addressed the media to give the latest on their injured players.

Grizzlies Injury Update: Mike Conley (left hamstring), who was initially listed as questionable for tonight’s game, will play tonight.

Coach Bickerstaff discussed in his pregame availability that at times his team is too unselfish. “Sometimes taking the shot is the unselfish play because we might not get a better shot,” Bickerstaff said.

Hear from Coach Bickerstaff right here:

Blazers Injury Update: Maurice Harkless (rest) and Anfernee Simons (upper respiratory infection) are out for tonight’s game.

Coach Stotts told the media that Harkless will sit out to rest tonight because the Blazers are playing three games in four nights. Stotts did not confirm yet if Jake Layman will start in the place of Harkless.

Where to Watch: NBC Sports Northwest

Where to Watch on the go: Stream the game live on the new MyTeams App

Tip-Off Time: 5:00 p.m. 

Point Spread: Memphis -3

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio