Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard will miss the remainder of the season as he continues to recover from abdominal surgery, the team announced in a press release.
Lillard underwent the surgery in January and “has progressed well through the reconditioning phase of his rehab protocol.” But with time running out on the season, the Blazers are opting to look forward to next year.
“He has met several key performance benchmarks to date and will continue end-stage rehab over the next few weeks,” the release read.
Lillard, 29, averaged 24.0 points, 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 29 games this season. When he returns, he will no longer have CJ McCollum as a backcourt mate, as McCollum was traded to the Pelicans in February.
Still, Lillard has gone on record as saying he wants to remain in Portland.
“For me, my heart is Portland Trail Blazer,” Lillard said last month, via Casey Holdahl of NBA.com. “I want to win it. I know that I have a plan that’s going to put me on my best level when I come back to play. And I want our team to fit that.”
As for playing alongside someone other than McCollum, Lillard indicated he has been preparing to do just that.
“This is something that me and C, we talked about it over the years, like, this being a possibility,” Lillard said. “I would say in the last three years it was always something where me and him would talk and he would be like ‘You know, I might be out of here,’ just loosely saying stuff like that and I’d be like ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’
“But as time went on we both knew that it’s going to come a point where we might not be a backcourt anymore, whether that was him getting traded or me getting traded.”