Blazers’ Aldridge needs thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge said Thursday that he tore a ligament in his left thumb that will require surgery and that he could be out six to eight weeks.
The three-time All-Star spoke before Portland’s game against the Celtics. The Blazers fell to Boston 90-89.
Aldridge hurt his thumb when his hand came down on the knee of Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins in the second quarter of the Blazers’ 98-95 victory over the Kings on Monday night.
"I’ve definitely sprained my thumb a few times, but this was on a different level," he said. "I couldn’t even move it."
The 6-foot-11 power forward had X-rays immediately following the injury but they were inconclusive. An MRI early Thursday revealed a radial collateral ligament tear.
Aldridge leads Portland with averages of 23.5 points and 10.4 rebounds and 1.18 blocks per game. He’s one of just three NBA players averaging at least 23 points and 10 rebounds.
"That was the last thing I wanted to hear," Blazers guard Damian Lillard said about Aldridge’s injury. "We’re an NBA team, it’s not like we can stop our schedule until he gets healthy. We just gotta keep on moving forward and try to win games."
The injury is a big blow to the Blazers, who were already dealing with a depleted front line. Center Robin Lopez is out with a fractured right hand and center Joel Freeland is sidelined with a right shoulder strain.
Starting small forward Nicolas Batum left Thursday night’s game against the Celtics after he aggravated a wrist injury that had been bothering him. Batum said afterward he was scheduled to have an MRI.
With Thursday’s loss, Portland is 31-13 and sitting in third place in the Western Conference, but the Blazers have lost five of six.
"It’s tough, we’ve been in a pretty good rhythm most of the season," Aldridge said. "We have a lot of guys here who can step up and play better, and make plays. So I think the team shouldn’t stall, we’re going to get guys back soon, so that should be good for us."
Aldridge said he will have surgery within the week. He was wearing a black sleeve on his wrist and thumb when he spoke to reporters in the Blazers’ locker room.
He said he discussed with the doctors whether he could play with it, but ultimately it was decided that he should have the surgery.
"They didn’t feel the risk was going to be worth the reward," he said. "It could be worse on the back end, or I could even wait two weeks and try to play and not end up playing anyways. So we just felt like, to us, the right thing to do is take care of it now."
In his ninth NBA season, all with Portland, Aldridge recently moved into second on the franchise list for both points (11,782) and rebounds (5,095). He trails only Clyde Drexler with 18,050 points and 5,339 rebounds.
"We’ve got to hold the fort down," Portland guard Wesley Matthews said. "We’ve got to figure it out, we’ve got to find ways to win and continue to play basketball the right way. It’s gotten us 31 wins."