In the final minutes of the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder contest Monday night, Portland was without four of its starters.
It's almost easier to mention who is healthy than who isn't right now.
To say the Trail Blazers have been bitten by the injury bug would be an understatement.
And it showed Monday night.
The Blazers dropped to 5-5 at home with Monday’s 125-122 loss to the Thunder.
Portland entered the game without Robert Covington (concussion), CJ McCollum (left mid-foot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
And as if that wasn’t difficult enough for the Blazers to figure out a solid rotation, more injuries piled up right before the game and near the end of it.
The Blazers announced in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that forward Derrick Jones Jr. had suffered a left quad contusion. However, after suffering the injury, he returned to the game, but then was quickly subbed out.
With an already limited number of healthy players, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts admired Jones Jr. for trying to play through the pain.
But ultimately, Jones Jr.’s limping and favoring of his left leg was too much for the small forward to continue to stay on the court.
Stotts says there is no immediate update on Jones Jr.
With no Covington after RoCo suffered a concussion late in Sunday's game, it was Carmelo Anthony who was inserted into the lineup at the four.
After starting at shooting guard for three straight games in place of the injured CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood was set to come off the bench against the Thunder.
But that all changed hours before tip-off.
During his pregame media interview, Coach Stotts mentioned that Hood would be limited on the second night of a back-to-back.
As Hood went through warm-ups Monday, he didn’t feel right.
“He had a thigh contusion from last night’s game, felt okay this morning, but during warm-ups he just – wasn’t able to go,” Stotts said following Monday’s loss.
Gary Trent Jr. replaced Hood in the starting lineup.
As Portland now gets set to head out on a six-game road trip, there’s no doubt that the next two days between now and their next game in Houston will be crucial for getting their bodies right.
Stotts is hopeful that Covington will be able to go on Thursday.
“He’s got to go through the [NBA’s concussion] protocol,” Stotts said pregame. “Hopefully he’ll be able to play against Houston [on Thursday], but he has to go through the concussion protocol.”
Damian Lillard, who went 8-for-23 from the field to finish with 26 points in the loss, added that as a team they have to play through nagging injuries right now if they’re able to do so.
Just like he is at the moment.
“We’ve got to push through,” Lillard added. “We’ve always been that team that pushes through, we don’t make excuses, we built tough, and sometimes that’s how it goes – you get a bruise here, a bump there – and you play through it. If it’s something that’s obviously not smart to play through and you’ve got to sit down and you can’t go then obviously that's what you should do.”
The Trail Blazers will now hit the road for a six-game road trip starting Thursday night in Houston.