According to a Wednesday evening report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Lillard is planning to undergo surgery in the near future on a lingering abdominal injury.
It’s reportedly the same injury that’s bothered the 31-year-old throughout the 2021-22 NBA season. Lillard most recently missed Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets and sat out 10 other times during the Blazers first 40 games this year.
Windhorst revealed that the procedure isn’t expected to be season-ending, but that’s still to be determined as of Wednesday.
Damian Lillard is planning to have surgery in the near future to address a lingering abdominal injury, sources told ESPN. The procedure isn't expected to be season-ending but that is to be determined.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 12, 2022
Earlier this season, Lillard described the abdominal injury as something he’d been dealing with for the last few seasons.
“It’s tight, irritated,” Lillard said, via Clutch Points. “It’s frustrating, but I’ve been playing with it for the last three-and-a-half, four seasons. It’s just frustrating. I’m ready to be playing in the prime of my career at 100 percent, and it’s frustrating to not be able to do that over the last three, four years.”
Lillard has been far from his usual self this season and it’s clear that the abdominal injury has contributed to his less than stellar play. In 29 games, all of which he’s started, the six-time All Star has averaged 24.0 points, 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
Those numbers may not seem like an issue to an outside observer, but Lillard has struggled to shoot the ball efficiently this year. When on the court, he’s posted career lows in field goal percentage (40.2 percent) and three-point field goal percentage (32.4 percent).
Lillard’s struggles have carried over the Blazers as a whole. Portland is 16-24 this year and is clinging onto the 10th spot on the Western Conference standings.
Time will tell when, or if, Lillard returns later in the year to help his team clinch a playoff berth.