The Portland Trail Blazers made good use of local hospital staff on Thursday, as Damian Lillard had abdominal surgery and Elise Esposito gave birth to her and CJ McCollum’s first child
The Portland Trail Blazers leaned heavily on overworked local medical professionals on Thursday, as team cornerstone Damian Lillard had surgery to repair damaged nerves in his abdomen and Elise Esposito, who is married to CJ McCollum, gave birth to the couple’s first child.
According to The Oregonian, Lillard had the surgery performed by Dr. Williams C. Meyers at The Vincera Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. His condition will be reassessed in six to eight weeks, but it’s very likely he won’t return this season.
McCollum, however, will rejoin the Blazers on their current six-game road trip. Portland took a 140-108 pounding by Denver Nuggets Thursday night to kick off the 10-day jaunt.
Portland’s backcourt is missing more than its two superstars
Anfernee Simons missed the game after a death in the family and Norman Powell was out for the third game in a row while navigating the league’s COVID protocols. Dennis Smith, Jr. and Ben McLemore started at guard and were the Blazers’ two leading scorers with 17 and 18 points, respectively.
Fewer than half the Blazers rostered players have contracts for next season, so interim general manager Joe Cronin will have plenty of hand in shaping next year’s roster regardless of whether or not he gets the job on a permanent basis.
They’ll have to either clear some cap space for next year to resign Simons or find him a new home before losing him in free agency this summer, and Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington are on expiring deals and could be of help to contenders and tanking teams alike.
The Trail Blazers continue the trip on Saturday in Washington against the surprising Wizards before heading to Florida to face Orlando on Monday and Miami on Wednesday.
With McCollum and hopefully Powell both returning somewhere in that stretch, it will be decision time for the front office and audition time for Blazer youngsters and veterans alike.