Lillard’s Lost Season?

The Trail Blazers have been known for mediocrity in recent seasons. Now, with their perennial superstar set to miss significant time, this season is looking like a lost cause.

Damian Lillard underwent abdominal surgery Thursday morning and will be reevaluated in five-to-six weeks. The injury has been described as a “lingering” one, which could explain Lillard’s career-worst season.

Dame’s poor play has infected a Portland squad that, at 16-24, has only an outside chance at a postseason berth — and a slimmer one of making a meaningful run.

  • He’s shooting 40.2% from the field and 32.4% from three, both career lows, and his 24.0 PPG is his worst since 2014-15.
  • His defensive rating (114.8) is fifth-worst in the NBA among players with at least 30 MPG, exacerbating the Blazers’ 29th-ranked defensive rating (114.5).
  • Portland is last in opponent FG% (47.7%) and 26th in opponent PPG (112.5).
  • The team owns the worst road record in the league (2-13).

Despite the glaring issues, Lillard is reportedly seeking a two-year, $107 million extension from the Blazers next offseason. The 31-year-old is in the first season of a four-year, $176 million deal that includes a player option after the 2023-24 campaign.

Whether or not the six-time All-Star justifies that kind of money upon his return, it’s fair to wonder if Portland will ever be able to build a contender around him.