An abdominal injury that's plagued Damian Lillard since the Tokyo Olympics has finally sidelined the Portland Trail Blazers star.

The Trail Blazers announced on Wednesday an MRI confirmed Lillard is suffering from lower abdominal tendinopathy. He'll spend at least 10 days resting in recovery protocol before the Blazers reevaluate his status. 

Has injury hampered Damian Lillard's performance?

Lillard appears to have been impacted by the injury on the court this season. Through 20 games, Lillard is shooting a career-low 39.7% from the field and 30.2% from 3-point range while averaging 21.5 points per game, his lowest scoring average since the 2014-15 season. Other factors like a new Wilson basketball and rule changes on how perimeter fouls are called could also be affecting Lillard's production. His 4.5 free-throw attempts per game are his lowest since his rookie season in 2012-13.

Lillard's dealt with injury since the summer

The normally durable Lillard sat Tuesday's game against the Detroit Pistons on the second night of a back-to-back to rest the injury prior to Wednesday's news of his long-term absence. The injury also prompted Lillard to miss a Nov. 14 game against the Denver Nuggets, but he's played through it otherwise all season.

Lillard reportedly played with the injury through Team USA's gold medal run in Tokyo that ended Aug. 6. He told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes in July that he's played through injuries before, but none have appeared to impact his game as much as this one. 

The next 10 days will include four Trail Blazers games against the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. The earliest Lillard could return based on the team's timeline is a Dec. 12 matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 11-11 Trail Blazers are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. 

Source: Read Full Article