In a significant blow to both his and the team's development, Portland Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe is set to undergo core muscle surgery and may miss the rest of the 2023-24 season.
Before being slowed by the recurring issue in mid-December, Sharpe was having a breakout sophomore season, showcasing his ability to play major minutes and act as a go-to scorer while Anfernee Simons missed the first six weeks with a thumb injury.
Without their 20-year-old rising star available, most of the Trail Blazers' backcourt minutes will fall on Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Malcolm Brogdon, who's been a steadying presence for that group of young guards.
That begs the question:
Will Shaedon Sharpe's injury force the Trail Blazers to rethink their trade deadline strategy?
Brogdon has been critical to what Portland has done this season, both off the court as a locker room leader and on the court as a productive player. The 31-year-old is averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists while hitting 41.2 percent of his 5.1 threes per game.
With Sharpe out of the rotation, Brogdon has been playing nearly 29 minutes a night.
The veteran guard is the most likely member of the Trail Blazers to be dealt before the trade deadline, but all reports claim Portland is hesitant to move Brogdon. It appears he's likely to stay in Portland regardless, but with Sharpe out for at least six weeks (more likely the rest of the year) keeping Brogdon around is critical.
The only healthy guard listed on the Blazers roster other than Scoot, Simons and Brogdon is Rayan Rupert, who's more of a wing player than a ballhandler.