Help is on the way, Blazers fans. Damian Lillard is expected to return to the lineup for the Portland Trail Blazers. The All-Star had missed the team’s last three contests due to a right hamstring injury.
The good news was reported by Yahoo Sports’ NBA insider Chris Haynes:
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard (right hamstring tendinopathy) plans to return Wednesday against Denver Nuggets after missing last three games, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 21, 2021
The Blazers desperately need their superstar back in the worst way. They’ve gone 1-2 in Lillard’s absence, with the lone win with being a come-from-behind performance against the San Antonio Spurs that could’ve easily gone the other way in the final minute. Portland needed a game-winner from trade deadline addition Norman Powell to steal the victory from the jaws of defeat.
NORM POWELL. GAME WINNER. pic.twitter.com/RP7kthpFlG
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 17, 2021
If not for that clutch bucket from Norm, the Blazers would be mired in a 5-game losing streak. They’ve gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, which is the worst ongoing stretch from any of the 23 teams with a realistic shot at making the playoffs this season. Lillard’s return won’t solve all their problems, as they’ve constantly struggled against good teams even with their star healthy. Nonetheless, he’s worth a couple of wins on his own, especially when he turns on Dame Time during close contests.
They certainly could’ve used some of his magic against the Clippers. Portland held a three point lead in the final minute, but a quick basket and some clutch free-throws from Paul George quickly turned the complexion of the game. With one final attempt to win it, CJ McCollum couldn’t shed PG cleanly to get a good look.
CJ Mccollum misses and Clippers win pic.twitter.com/XGGkOZ4ugr
— THE NBA Hustle 🏀 (@TheNBAHustle) April 21, 2021
You’d have to think the result would’ve been different if Lillard took on George for those final five seconds. Blazers fans all know what Damian Lillard is capable of doing during closing moments. Now with the NBA entering its final stretch of games, they need their star to come up big again late.