In the first half of last night’s 100-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson sustained a mild knee injury. When he leapt for an uncontested dunk on a fast break, his left knee bent outward under the strain of takeoff. Robinson temporarily left the game, but returned after halftime to gut it out in place of his more severely injured teammates (LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Freeland, and Meyers Leonard). Robinson missed all subsequent shot attempts tallying just two points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.
Fortunately, Robinson is tank. If the Trail Blazers absolutely need him in the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets tonight, I have no doubt that he will don a knee brace and grimace through as much as he can. However; if Aldridge makes his return from groin injury this evening, don’t be surprised if Robinson gets the night off. Robinson’s presence on the court will be inversely dependent on Aldridge’s, unless his knee feels much better by game time. Regardless, it’s much more likely that either will play than neither.
Aldridge has not yet been evaluated for a return, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he can’t be cleared this afternoon. He traveled with the team to Denver yesterday and took shots with his teammates during warm-ups. In the event that Aldridge misses tonight’s game, he will still be able to suit up by the end of the week. The same cannot be said for Freeland (MCL) and Leonard (ankle), so Robinson’s availability in the coming week will be more important than ever before; Aldridge or not.