SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge’s latest bout with heart arrhythmia kept him out less than a week, a big relief to the five-time All-Star as he and the San Antonio Spurs chase the Golden State Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Aldridge was cleared to return to full basketball activities and was expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday night against Portland with no restrictions, the Spurs announced. He went through a bevy of tests and consulted with several experts before being cleared to return, giving the Spurs a much-needed post presence.
“We are thankful that LaMarcus will be able to rejoin the team,” Spurs GM RC Buford said in a statement issued by the team. “All of us have been impressed with the professionalism and grace he has shown in dealing with this difficult situation.”
The Spurs trail the Warriors by a half-game in the West.
Aldridge felt what the team called a minor arrhythmia last week in Oklahoma City. The Spurs announced on Friday that he would be out indefinitely , not taking any chances with the situation despite Aldridge’s history of having little trouble returning to play after two previous episodes in his career.
Aldridge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome — an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat — as a rookie in 2007. He missed the final seven games of his first season while he was with Portland and also was held out 10 days in the preseason in 2011.
But it hasn’t prevented him from becoming one of the premier post players in the game and a player the Spurs desperately need if they are going to leapfrog the scuffling Warriors for the top spot in the West. He is averaging 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season.
San Antonio’s pursuit of Golden State seemed to be in serious jeopardy last weekend, when Aldridge was shelved indefinitely and Kawhi Leonard was forced to sit out against the Warriors on Saturday night while going through the NBA’s concussion protocol.
But the Spurs beat the Warriors after Golden State coach Steve Kerr rested Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala and Leonard returned on Monday after missing just the one game to lead San Antonio to a win over Atlanta.