Damian Lillard certainly has nothing to apologize for after winning his first Olympic gold medal.
Maybe his Team USA debut wasn't a reflection of the night-to-night superstardom Lillard displays with the Trail Blazers. Still, he played a clear role in the Americans' fourth straight Olympic title, even splashing a pair of crucial jumpers with gold on the line against France midway through the fourth quarter.
Anyone concerned by Lillard's relative struggles in Japan, though, will be glad to hear they weren't prompted solely by his acclimation to the international game.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lillard gutted through Olympic action with an injury to his abdomen that's serious enough to need further examination stateside.
Lillard has a history of dealing with minor abdomen issues. After a February win over the Orlando Magic in which his ab pain resurfaced, Lillard called his injury "normal," adding that he trained in the offseason to avoid it.
Lillard averaged 11.2 points and 3.2 assists per game for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 34.8 percent on threes. He was subbed out for defense by Gregg Popovich on multiple occasions, a frequent victim of the Americans' switching defensive scheme at 6-foot-2.
There's no reason, at least for now, to believe Lillard's injury is anything serious. He almost surely wouldn't have continued playing in Japan if doing so posed a serious risk for further injury. Despite some flat-footed defense and cold jump-shooting, Lillard wasn't noticeably hindered physically at the Olympics, either.
We'll update the status of Lillard's injury as news becomes available.