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Anfernee Simons no longer competing in NBA 3-point contest due to ankle injury

Trail Blazers starting guards Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons were both previously reported to be participating, but Simons was injured in a game Tuesday evening.
Credit: David Zalubowski, AP Photo
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, right, chats with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers teammates Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons were originally set to face off against each other in hopes of being crowned 3-point champion at All-Star Saturday this weekend in Salt Lake City, but Simons is now out the contest after spraining his ankle during Tuesday's game against the Washington Wizards.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported Thursday morning that Simons would be replaced in the NBA 3-Point Shootout by New York Knicks All-Star Julius Randle because his ankle injury required further evaluation. Lillard will still compete, Charania added.

The Blazers confirmed the change in a news release Thursday afternoon, stating that Simons would miss All-Star weekend and that his availability to return "will be determined at a later date."

The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Blazers' two starting guards both accepted invitations to compete in the NBA 3-Point Shootout, which takes place Saturday night (5 p.m., TNT) along with the dunk contest and skills challenge.

Hours later, the Blazers hosted the Wizards at the Moda Center for what ultimately became a 126-101 Wizards victory. Simons sprained is right ankle late in the third quarter and had to be helped to the locker room. Blazers coach Chancey Billups later said X-rays were negative. 

Simons was scheduled to have an MRI Thursday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and the team's news release said the MRI revealed a grade 2 sprain.

Lillard, who will also play in the All-Star game on Sunday, is one of four All-Stars competing in the 3-point contest, along with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Utah Jazz center Lauri Markkanen.

Lillard is shooting 37.5% from 3 this season on a career-high 11 attempts per game. Simons is shooting 38.1% on a career high 9.3 attempts per game.

The other players competing in the 3-Point Shootout are:

  • Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (39.8%, 7.3 attempts per game)
  • Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (36.9%, 8.1 attempts per game)
  • Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers (42.3%, 9.0 attempts per game)
  • Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings (39.0%, 6.7 attempts per game)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz (41.2%, 7.4 attempts per game)
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (35.3%, 9.3 attempts per game)

This will be the third time Lillard has competed in the 3-point contest. He finished third in 2014 but didn’t make it out of the first round in 2019. Simons would have been competing in the 3-point shootout for the first time in his career.

There is a former 3-point shootout champion in the field. Hield won the contest in 2020.

All-Star schedule

All times Pacific

Friday, Feb. 17

  • Celebrity Game, 4 p.m., ESPN
  • Rising Stars Challenge, 6 p.m., TNT

Saturday, Feb. 18

  • HBCU Classic, Southern vs. Grambling State, 1 p.m., TNT
  • Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest, 5 p.m., TNT

Sunday, Feb. 19

  • NBA All-Star Game, 5 p.m., TNT


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