Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said Sunday that Damian Lillard, out with a calf strain, won’t return in time for Wednesday night’s home game against Memphis.
Lillard injured his right calf during Wednesday’s loss to Miami at the Moda Center. On Thursday, the Blazers announced that Lillard had a grade one strain and would be reevaluated in one to weeks.
The hope, Billups said, is that Lillard returns early on during the team’s six-game road trip that begins Friday at Phoenix.
Josh Hart, who suffered a concussion during Friday’s win over the Rockets, is in the NBA’s concussion protocols but is progressing, according to Billups.
“Hopefully he can clear through that and most importantly, feel good,” Billups said.
The concussion occurred when Hart hit the back of his head on the floor after being fouled while driving to the basket. Hart, who continued to play, passed concussion tests during the game, Billups said. But afterward, team doctors determined that he indeed had a concussion.
“I told him, that head is hard as concrete, we all know that,” Billups said with a smile.
A player in concussion protocols may not return to any level of participation until they are first without concussion-related symptoms while at rest.
A player then must pass an exertion process that involves several steps starting with riding a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work to non-contact team drills.
At each step, a player must pass a focused neurological examination in order to proceed to the next step.
There exists no firm timeline for this process.
— Aaron Fentress | afentress@Oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).
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