PORTLAND, Ore — Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Damian Lillard has a right knee sprain and will not play in Game 5 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night.
The team made the announcement Tuesday afternoon after Lillard got a second MRI on his right knee. Lillard hurt his knee during the third quarter of Monday night’s 135-115 blowout loss to the Lakers.
It’s not the first injury Lillard has suffered in the series. He dislocated a finger in Portland’s Game 2 loss to the Lakers.
With Lillard out, the Blazers will be without their top player in a must-win game to keep their season alive. After stunning the top-seeded Lakers and winning Game 1, Portland has dropped three straight games and trails the best-of-7 series 3-1.
Chris Haynes with Yahoo Sports and TNT reports if the Blazers win Game 5 and extend the series, Lillard would likely still be unavailable.
Lillard has been one of the standout stars since the NBA resumed its season on the Disney World campus in Florida. The Blazers entered the so-called “bubble” 3.5 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the eight final regular season games, Portland passed Memphis and then beat the Grizzlies in a play-in game to earn the final playoff spot and take on the Lakers.
In those eight games, Lillard averaged 37.6 points and 9.6 assists per game and was named the MVP of the NBA’s restart. Lillard scored more than 40 points in four of those games, including tying a career-high 61 points in a win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Lillard has averaged 24.3 points per game in the series against the Lakers. Game 5 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
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