PORTLAND -- Monday afternoon’a game should give us a good indication of how the Trail Blazers fill out their starting lineup as they wait for players to return from injury. We also got a sense of how long at least one of those absences will last.
With CJ McCollum sidelined with a left foot sprain, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said pre-game that he had decided to start Rodney Hood alongside Damian Lillard, Derrick Jones Jr, Robert Covington and Enes Kanter in Monday’s contest versus the Spurs at the Moda Center.
Stotts said he considered starting Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. as well, but ultimately opted for Hood, who is still in the process of getting back his feel and rhythm on the court after missing almost the entirety of the 2019-20 season with a ruptured Achilles.
“I like Gary scoring off the bench,” said Stotts of the decision. “Rodney has been in that position before, Anfernee is our backup point guard, so I didn’t want to use his minutes in the starting lineup.”
Hood has started in 25 of his 59 appearances with the Trail Blazers, though he’s come off the bench in all 11 of Portland’s games this season. He’s averaging 1.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 13.1 minutes per game this season. Getting the 6-8 wing, who re-signed for two more season with the Blazers this offseason, additional minutes was likely already a goal, so McCollum’s injury presents that opportunity.
As for McCollum, Stotts also said prior to Monday’s game that his sprained left foot would be reevaluated in a week. The 6-3 guard was playing arguably the best basketball of his career prior to the injury, averaging 26.7 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from three, 5.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 33.8 minutes per game.