Separated Rib Can Explain Damian Lillard’s Struggles In Western Conference Finals

Monday, May 20, 2019 11:35 PM UTC

Monday, May. 20, 2019 11:35 PM UTC

Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard hasn't looked like himself in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors and it was recently revealed that a serious rib injury could be holding him back.

<p>According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lillard has separated ribs and has played through his injury in this series. The talented point guard suffered the injury in Game 2, when Kevon Looney landed on him during a battle for a loose ball.</p><div>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Portland Trail Blazers All-NBA star Damian Lillard has separated ribs and is playing through the injury, league sources tell &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/TheAthleticNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@TheAthleticNBA&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@Stadium&lt;/a&gt;. Lillard shot 5-of-18 in Game 3 loss to Warriors.&lt;/p&gt;— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1129983680489893888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;May 19, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</div><div> </div><p>This is how Summit Medical Group describes a rib injury:<br /><br /><em>"When a rib tears away from the cartilage, the injury is called a costochondral separation. It may result from a blow to the ribs, a fall, or landing hard on your feet. It might even be caused by forceful coughing or sneezing."</em></p><p>CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 23 points on Saturday’s 110-99 loss in Game 3 but he was just 7-for-20 from the field and 2-for-10 from beyond the arc while Damian Lillard scored 19 points on a poor 5 of 18 shooting display.</p><p>Lillard is averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 40.0 minutes over three games in this series but he’s shooting just 32.9 percent from the field and he’s turning the ball over 4.7 times per game.</p><p>Can Lillard overcome the injury to help the Trail Blazers avoid getting swept and take the series back to Oakland?</p><p>Here you can see how he could have sustained the injury:</p><div>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Here is the play where Damian Lillard sustained the reported rib injury &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/mwiwWg6oSX\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/mwiwWg6oSX&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NBCSNorthwest/status/1129984573889306624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;May 19, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</div><div> </div><p>The Warriors look to secure their fifth straight <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/" target="_blank">NBA</a> Finals appearance when they visit the Trail Blazers in Game 4 tonight and Damian Lillard has to be much better or this series will end in a few hours.</p><p>Damian Lillard has to play at the level he displayed against the Thunder in the first round but as he told USA Today:</p><p><em>"There's nothing you can really do about it. Just when I get winded, it's a little harder to breathe. Contact, when you're in there banging with guys, just normal stuff."</em></p><p>Lillard and McCollum combined for 42 points on 12 of 38 shooting (31.6 percent) and 5 of 19 from beyond the arc (26.3 percent) in Game 3 but both players are proud and if they go down they will go down fighting, so expecting them to have a better showing is reasonable, which would help this game <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/may-20-free-nba-pick-of-the-day-blazers-at-warriors-totals/90222/" target="_blank">go Over the total</a>, not to mention that Andre Iguodala (plus-1.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) will miss the game because of a sore lower leg.</p>
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