LaMarcus Aldridge will sit out his sixth consecutive game as he recovers from a lower back contusion and the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Miami Heat. There is still no timetable for his return, but according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW, the team wants him to practice at least once before playing in a game. This has not happened yet. Aldridge has done minimal stationary shooting, but has not gone through a full set of drills with the team.
Greg Oden will actively face his former team for the first time tonight. Last week, Miami Head Coach Eric Spoelstra named him the starting center for the foreseeable future. Oden was supposed to miss one game of the Heat’s current back-to-back, and Spo elected to keep him out against the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday instead of tonight’s game, which would indicate that Oden is ready for some well-deserved closure on his own terms in Miami. He didn’t have to play tonight.
Dwyane Wade is not expected to take the court due to an ankle injury. This comes as no big surprise. Wade missed yesterday’s matchup with the Pelicans as well, and there is no reason for the Heat to risk the 32 year old’s health as the playoffs approach. Despite losing 7 of their last 11 (just like Portland), they are still 8 wins ahead of third place in the pitiful Eastern Conference. The Heat have their spot carved out already. Wade will return when he feels rested.
The game will be broadcast live on NBA TV at 4:30 p.m. PDT. Both teams are frustrated by losses and missing key players, so everyone will be playing for keeps. This is one that you don’t want to miss. The Trail Blazers are hurting for a late-season turnaround to keep their dreams of homecourt advantage alive for the post-season. A win here could be the boon they need.