PORTLAND, Ore. — It looks like the Portland Trail Blazers will be getting a much-needed boost Tuesday as guard CJ McCollum is expected to play for the first time in two months. McCollum is not listed on the team’s injury report for Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports McCollum will return.
McCollum has been sidelined since Jan. 16 when he fractured his left foot. The injury put a pause on what was the best start to a season in McCollum’s career. In 13 games, the Blazers shooting guard averaged 26.7 points, 5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He also shot 47% from the field and made 44% of his 3-point shots.
With McCollum returning, the Blazers are sure to add offensive firepower to a team battling for playoff positioning in the tightly-packed Western Conference. Portland is 22-16 so far this season, tied for fifth place in the West with the Denver Nuggets. The Blazers are two games back of the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers and one and a half games ahead of the seventh-place San Antonio Spurs.
The Blazers have remained competitive despite not having McCollum for two months, as well as center Jusuf Nurkic. But the return of the Bosnian Beast may not be far off. Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reports Nurkic intends to be back in about two weeks. Nurkic has been out since Jan. 14 when he broke his right wrist in a game against the Indiana Pacers. Enes Kanter has filled in as the starting center while Nurkic has been recovering.