A lingering hamstring injury bothered Damian Lillard for the last few weeks of December, keeping him out of five games. The Inside Injuries algorithm calculated a three-week Optimal Recovery Time, but Lillard only missed a week and a half of basketball activities. He was still listed on the injury report with the hamstring injury but was back in the lineup last Tuesday.
During Tuesday’s game, Lillard was seen with a heat wrap around his right calf and admitted after the game that he was dealing with some cramping and soreness. He practiced with a sleeve on Thursday and was ruled active for Friday’s game shortly before tip-off. It’s no surprise Lillard sat out of the fourth quarter of Friday’s game, given he was playing through two lower body injuries. He only played 29 minutes, but that was still too much. The Blazers have tried to downplay the injury, although Lillard was ruled out of both the Sunday and Tuesday games over 24 hours in advance.
Had Lillard taken the full three weeks to recover from his hamstring injury in December, he may not have over-compensated for the injury and strained his right calf. Playing through calf soreness and the lingering hamstring injury on Friday just caused further damage and forced Lillard to the sidelines. There is no word yet on Lillard’s expected return date, but the Inside Injuries algorithm is calculating at least 3-4 weeks of recovery time before he’s 100 percent. Had he not tried to play through the injuries, he could have only been looking at about a week on the bench.
Otto Porter has a history of hip injuries, and playing through his recent hip strain likely led to the lower back tightness that held him out on Saturday. He missed two games to the hip strain late in December, but the Inside Injuries algorithm calculated a three-week Optimal Recovery time for the injury. He was still dealing with lingering symptoms in his hip on Friday when his back reportedly tightened up on him in the third quarter.
Porter was listed with both back and hip injuries when he was ruled out of Saturday’s game. He participated in some portions of practice on Monday, but he’s officially listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game. The Inside Injuries algorithm is calculating a three-week Optimal Recovery Time for the hip and back injuries, which means Porter won’t be near 100 percent if he plays. He shot less than 50 percent from the field in his past three games, and his stat line won’t improve until he’s healthy.
A history of hip injuries makes these injuries even more concerning because back and hip injuries are often times related. Porter is a High Injury Risk as he attempts to play through these injuries, and fantasy owners can expect a Below Average Performance out of him until he’s healthy.
Danny Green has been battling a groin injury since early December, but continuing to play through it only made the issue worse. Green is now expected to miss his fourth straight game, absences that could have been avoided had he taken the time to rest early on.
The groin tightness first started on December 8. Green missed one game because of the injury but was back in the lineup three days later. His groin injury flared up, likely because it was not completely healed, and Green was back on the sidelines. This routine of missing a game or two and then playing a game or two continued throughout the month of December. Green never missed more than two games or five days as he attempted to play through the injury.
Green’s performance suffered as he tried to play through the pain, and his poor performance is ultimately what caught the Spurs’ attention. He had a string of games where he put up only five or fewer points, and it was obvious he wasn’t 100 percent. Coach Gregg Popovich first announced that Green’s minutes would be restricted, and last Wednesday Popovich announced that the guard may be shut down for a while. Green was originally looking at a two week Optimal Recovery Time (ORT) when he first sustained the groin injury. Because he did not take the required time off to fully heal, he worsened the injury and is now looking at a five-week ORT according to the Inside Injuries algorithm.
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