Trail Blazers’ Trendon Watford happy to be back in action: ‘I missed it a lot’

Not much positive came out of the Trail Blazers’ 102-82 loss Saturday at the Phoenix Suns.

However, a bright spot could be found in the return of forward/center Trendon Watford who made his season debut after missing eight games with a hip flexor strain.

“It was great to get back out there with the guys,” Watford said. “I missed it. I missed it a lot.”

Watford, who played 15 minutes against the Suns and produced nine points on 2-of-7 shooting and four rebounds, said he especially missed being able to once again move without pain and being a part of the team’s early success.

“It’s been looking like a lot of fun out there,” Watford said. “And we’ve been winning, so I want to be able to contribute to that however I can.”

Watford suffered the strain in September during training camp in Santa Barbara, California and re-aggravated during a preseason game at Golden State.

“That’s when it sort of took a turn and got a little worse,” he said. “But it’s fine. I didn’t feel it today. Hopefully it stays like that.”

Watford appeared in 48 games last season with 10 starts but said he felt like a rookie again when he entered Saturday’s game at the Footprint Center

“I sort of had first-game jitters today,” Watford said. “Like I never played in the game. But it felt good.”

Watford clearly wasn’t sharp. He shot 53.3% last season but struggled from the floor in his first game back with the Blazers (6-3), who face Miami on Monday.

“I was a little winded,” Watford said. “But I sort of picked it up towards the end, like just getting my feel back and trying to be the playmaker that I am and rebound, and just a lot of different things. But I feel like I played solid in my first game back.”

Watford adds much-needed frontcourt depth at power forward and center. The Blazers now have a third option at center behind Jusuf Nurkic and Drew Eubanks, as well as another body at power forward behind Jerami Grant and Justise Winslow.

“I was happy to see him out there,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “Just to see him get some reps out there, you know, handle the ball.”

— Aaron Fentress reported from Phoenix, Arizona

— Aaron Fentress | | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).

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