The NBA season has reached its midway point. The point in the year when all NBA teams shut down for a week while a select few players participate in the NBA All-Star game and other All-Star weekend festivities such as the NBA Rising Stars event, the three-point competition and what was once the highly anticipated Slam Dunk Contest.
Prior to Wednesday night’s competition against the Memphis Grizzlies the Trail Blazers All-NBA guard Damian Lillard was one of the Western Conference representatives to participate in the NBA All-Star game and three-point competition.
This season Trail Blazers fans have seen Lillard at the peak of his powers. Prior to the last two games played Dame had averaged 39 points a game in 12 games played. Forcing media members to put his name into MVP consideration.
This was prior to, midway through the fourth quarter against Memphis when Lillard attacked the rim against two defenders, as he landed, immediately grabbing at his groin. He would last just one more offensive possession before intentionally fouling to remove himself from the game.
Lillard went straight to the locker room and did not return. The Trail Blazers then lost to the Grizzlies 111-104.
Lillard was asked by The Athletics, Jason Quick after the game about the severity of his injury. “I don’t think I’m playing in the [All-Star] game. Actually I know I’m not playing,” Lillard said.
“Obviously that’s something you look forward to, those festivities and having fun but my health is first and I knew right away [playing in the All-Star game] wasn’t going to happen.”
Lillard continued by endorsing the selection of Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker as his replacement.
“I’ve been there before, I’ve done it all and I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities. I want to make sure I’m healthy so that way when the break is over I’m rested and have done all I can do to be ready as soon as possible,” Lillard said.
Although the Blazers lost this match against the Grizzlies, which put them four games back from the eighth and final playoff spot, Lillard vowed the season isn’t over just yet.
“It’s far from over, believe that,” Lillard said.
During the post game interview, Lillard told reporters that him walking off the court under his own strength was a good sign. He explained that his groin didn’t feel weak and that he went through resistance work after leaving the game.
Quick asked Lillard if he believed he would be back for the first game Post-All-Star break against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 21, “yeah,” Lillard said quickly.
A day later NBC Sports Northwest reporter Jamie Hudson reported the Blazers said Lillard would be re-evaluated in a week.
Now, it’s time for a much-needed rest for Lillard and the rest of the Blazers while we wait for players like Mario Hejzona, Nasir Little, Lillard and of course Jusuf Nurkić to recover from injuries.
The Blazers have just 26 games remaining in the regular season. Chasing the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot they will face them twice more this season.
Although Lillard will not be participating in the All-Star event, the weekend events will go on. The All-Star game will take place Sunday Feb. 16. Lillard had intended to do a music performance during the All-Star game prior to his injury. According to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports he will still preform along with Lil Wayne and Jeremih.
Although Trail Blazer fans won't be able to see Damian Lillard perform in the All-Star game due to injury, he is still giving fans a reason to tune in to see Dame D.o.l.l.a perform on stage with two All-Stars in their own right.
Comment below if you still plan on watching the events taking place over NBA All-Star weekend.