CJ McCollum is reportedly playing through a fractured back with the hopes of helping Damian Lillard carry the team to the Playoffs.
Several players have already gone down with injuries in the bubble. The most notable among them include Ben Simmons, Jonathan Isaac, and Joel Embiid. The first two mentioned are already ruled out for the season. Embiid, on the other hand, is still day-to-day.
These injuries prove just how grueling the NBA can be to the bodies of players. After all, they’re only humans pushing their bodies to the limits. One particular team knows just how much injuries can hurt, and that is the Portland Trailblazers.
They could be entering the Playoffs short-handed again, just like how they were throughout most of the season.
CJ McCollum is playing with a fractured back
If a fracture sounds too morbid, there’s nothing to worry about CJ’s injury. Several previous players have gone through the same injury but continued playing, albeit having to change their style. NBC Sports Northwest reports,
“Sources told NBC Sports Northwest prior to the game that McCollum has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) since last Thursday. In layman’s terms, he has a fracture in his lower back. He has played three games since the injury.”
McCollum is the second most crucial players in the roster. He is the Robin to Lillard’s Batman, and they are two most prolific scoring backcourt in the league. McCollum has reportedly played through the injury for the past three games. It could be the reason why he doesn’t look like himself out there.
The Blazers go through him and Lillard a lot, but he can’t seem to finish the plays designed for him. Fortunately, his teammates have picked up the slack with the Blazers finally getting their roster back.
Lillard and his posse
Lillard has been out of his mind in the bubble. He looked like a man on a mission to prove yet again just how great of a player he is. Similar to Lillard is Carmelo Anthony. The 36-year-old forward has been a revelation in the bubble. He’s scored 20 or more points in four of the seven outings that the Blazers have had.
Anthony has also been clutch diving for loose balls and keeping himself ready when the situation calls for it. His most memorable sequence in the bubble would be a last-minute hustle, which opened him up for a wide-open three against the Rockets.
The Blazers have also found a gem in Gary Trent Jr. They found a reliable scoring option outside of Melo, Lillard, and McCollum. Fortunately, he bloomed at the perfect time when McCollum shared his injury. Trent Jr. will figure to be a crucial part of the rotation for the Blazers if or when they face the Lakers in the first round.
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