Damian Lillard Injury and Surgery May Have Been More Serious Than Anyone Imagined: ‘I Can’t Move’

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard underwent surgery on January 13 to repair a core injury causing chronic abdominal pain. The procedure was performed in Philadelphia, and the Blazers said Lillard would be re-evaluated in six weeks. 

However, Lillard’s injury and subsequent surgery may have been more severe than anyone imagined.

Reportedly strong possibility Damian Lillard’s abdominal surgery is season-ending

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, there remains a strong possibility that Lillard’s abdominal surgery is season-ending. The All-Star contemplated getting the surgery done following the Tokyo Olympics, but he wanted to be available for his teammates and played through serious pain.

However, the injury affected Dame’s play this season, and the pain became too much to handle.

“At the Olympics, it was as bad as it’s been, and I was just like, ‘Man, this is a real issue. ‘There was really no time for me to do it. I just decided to rest,” Lillard said, via Blazers.com. “I took like 30 days where I didn’t do nothing, and I felt a lot better coming into camp. I felt fresh. I had been working out and stuff. Ir hadn’t been giving me any trouble because I was coming off such a long break, and then the second that we started camp, I felt good the first day, day and a half. Then I started to feel it again, and I was like, ‘Man, I thought the rest would help for a longer period of time.’ But it didn’t.”

Lillard appeared in 29 games this season before going under the knife. He averaged 24.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.3 assists while shooting 40.2% from the field, 32.4% from beyond the arc, and 87.8% from the free-throw line. The Blazers are only 16-25 and likely won’t even qualify for the play-in tournament if Lillard is out for the year, which means a rebuild could be in the works.

While it would certainly be difficult for Lillard to sit out the remainder of the season, his decision to undergo surgery could benefit him and the Blazers in the long run.

Damian Lillard: “Maybe add two years to my career instead of taking two off”

Lillard has been playing through abdominal pain for the past four seasons. The surgery he had will not only be a short procedure, but it could also prolong his career.

“It was something that I’ve been fighting through for the last four years,” Lillard said. “The reason I was doing that is so I could be a part of our team’s success. … It was a situation where it’s been a tough season. I’m not healthy. What is the return on me beating myself up for another year? And then end of the year, what is that going to look like? And now I’ve got to the end of the season, and we’re trying to do this at the end of the season, and now I’ve got to go through the rehab, the recovery, get in shape, train, and all that stuff and then the season is here again, and there’s not really been a physical or mental break. So why not take that opportunity now, just swallow my pride and play the long game? Maybe add two years to my career instead of taking two off.”

Lillard signed a four-year extension with the Blazers in July 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers desperately want to acquire him for Ben Simmons, who no longer wants to play for them. However, Lillard hasn’t requested a trade from Portland and may never ask out despite rumors stating he eventually will.

While he’s rehabbing his injury, Lillard will continue to support his teammates. However, he will also take some time away to clear his head.

Dame: “Take that mental and physical break”

Lillard wants to use this break to refresh his mind and body. As a result, he’s going to be relatively hidden.

“I’m just going to take some time away from it,” Lillard said. “Already deleted Instagram off my phone, got rid of my Twitter, just steer clear of it. It’s hard to turn off when you was always concerned with something, so I’m just gonna stay out the way a little bit, do my rehab, just let people miss me. I think it’s important for me to do it for myself, kind of free myself of the burden and also just go and do the things that I need to do and come back fresh with my mind right. Take that mental and physical break so when I come back, they’ll be reminded and they can remember. They’ll see a more special me than they’ve seen.”

While Blazers fans have to be happy that Lillard will finally be pain-free the next time he plays, they are undoubtedly hoping he hasn’t played his final game in a Portland jersey.

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