Damian Lillard suffered a right calf strain that forced him to miss the rest of Portland’s 119-98 loss to the Miami Heat, per the Trail Blazers.
Damian Lillard (right calf strain) – Will not return— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) October 27, 2022
Lillard said that his calf was bothering him during pregame warmups, calling it a “little bit tight, like a little bit irritated, but nothing that I hadn’t felt before.” Lillard said that he was aware that his calf got progressively worse “as the game went on.” At halftime, Lillard put on a calf sleeve “to put some compression on it.”
The injury reached its climax through the third quarter after Lillard seemed to aggravate his right calf on a made three-pointer. He stayed in the game for another possession but quickly exited after he turned the ball over.
“It felt the same to start the third, and on the last shot that I made, when I rose up real quick, I just felt it get real tight,” said Lillard. “Went back on defense just to see how it would feel; it felt fine running up the court, and then the next time I did another move, I tried to stop, and I just felt how tight it was. It wasn’t like something happened; it was just like, let me get it off the court and see what’s going on.
“It wasn’t nothing I was overly concerned with; I just knew it wouldn’t make sense to try to push through it in the fifth game of the season.”
Postgame, Lillard announced he went through tests to see how severe the strain was. The injury didn’t require an MRI, and Lillard said that he was able to compete, suggesting that his calf strain is moderate at best. The six-time All-Star thinks he would’ve played if it was a playoff game. Dame Time was adamant that the injury wasn’t severe but admitted that he would likely sit out Friday’s game against the Rockets, Portland’s fourth contest in six days.
Portland will have four days off after Friday and won’t play again until Nov. 2, giving Lillard nearly a whole week to heal before they resume action against the Grizzlies. Jeff Stotts, the co-host of In Street Clothes podcast, reported that last season the average time missed for a calf strain was 16 days. He also said that Lillard missed two games during the 2017-2019 season due to a calf strain on the same leg.
“Now I’ve got to be smart,” said Lillard. “Just make sure I’m getting a couple treatment sessions in each day and just try to stretch it. Probably not going to be playing in that game Friday, that’ll give me six days of maybe two sessions, some days three sessions some other days, try to be ready for (Memphis), but we’ll see.”