As they embark on a frantic final month as the playoffs fast approach, the Trail Blazers are taking no chances with Damian Lillard's health.
Portland announced on Saturday that Lillard won't play against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, his second consecutive missed game due to right hamstring tendinopathy.
Despite his ongoing absence, Portland has given no indication that Lillard's hamstring issue is serious. He collided with Jayson Tatum in the second half the Blazers' thrilling loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, walking off in obvious pain. But Lillard finished the game without incident, and offered no suggestion after the game that the collision left him hurting.
Lillard missed Portland's game against the Orlando Magic on March 26 with right knee soreness, the culmination of a series of nagging injuries. He expressed optimism about his health just a few days later, though, and played in every game after the victory over Orlando until missing the Blazers' nail-biting win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
Charlotte, it bears mentioning, will be sorely depleted on Sunday. Already without Rookie of the Year frontrunner LaMelo Ball and star wing Gordon Hayward, the Hornets will also miss Devonté Graham, P.J. Washington and Malik Monk against Portland.
Derrick Jones Jr. is slated to start in Lillard's place, pushing C.J. McCollum to point guard and Norman Powell to shooting guard. Anfernee Simons, fresh off one of the best games of his career, will get another golden opportunity to push for consistent playing time on Sunday, too.
The Blazers and Hornets tip off at 4:00 p.m. (PST).