Lillard is slated for an MRI tomorrow but told the media after the game, in which he scored 20 points in 36 minutes, that he would not take part in this weekend’s festivities in Chicago. On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tabbed Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker as Lillard’s replacement in both events.
“That’s something you look forward to, those festivities and having fun,” Lillard said. “But my health is first, and I knew right away. I’ll still be there and be a part of it, but I’m not going to play.”
No further information about Lillard’s condition was available. A five-time All-Star, the 29-year-old is averaging a career-high 29.7 points and 7.9 assists per game.
He did say that he will travel to Chicago and mentioned Booker as a potential replacement for himself.
“Obviously that’s something that you look forward to, those festivities and having fun, but my health is first and I knew right away that wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “I’ll still be there and be a part of it but I’m not going to be able to play. So hopefully somebody who should have been there who didn’t make it (will go). Unfortunately, I had to be the fall guy, but hopefully Devin Booker or somebody like that will get the spot.”
Lillard said he knew when the injury occurred in the 111-104 loss that he would not be pushing himself further.
“When it happened, I just felt it,” Lillard said. “I knew I pulled it, it made no sense to be out there for the last few minutes of the game and risk trying to play through it and making it worse. But I walked off the court just fine even though it was like, a little bit painful. I came in and it was strong when they was making me go against resistance and stuff like that. It was strong, wasn’t like, weak and I couldn’t do stuff. That was all I needed to know.”
The Trail Blazers do not play again until Feb. 21, when they face New Orleans at home. Portland currently stands four games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.