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Blazers’ Lillard strains calf, leaves in 3rd against Heat


AP Sports Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard left the Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night because of a strained right calf, but he says the injury is not serious.

Lillard, a six-time All-Star, came up limping with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter and headed straight for the locker room. He did not return and the Blazers lost, 119-98.

Lillard said afterward the injury did not require an MRI but he is unlikely to play on Friday night when the Blazers host the Houston Rockets. After that, Portland has a break before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies next Wednesday.

“Now I’ve just got to be smart, and make sure I’m getting a couple of treatment sessions in each day, and just try to stretch it,” Lillard said. “So probably not going to be playing that game on Friday. That will give me six days of maybe two sessions some days, three session other days, and try to be ready for that one. We’ll see.”

Lillard scored 30-plus points in three of the Blazers’ first four games this season. He led all scorers with 22 points against the Heat before he left the game.

He said he felt tightness in the calf before the game and put a compression sleeve on it at halftime. But he added that had it been the playoffs, he would have played through it.

The injury, however slight, was scary for the Blazers because Lillard missed 47 games last season with a nagging abdominal injury that required surgery. In the first four games of this season, he finally looked fit and agile.

“It’s early. We’ve gotten off to a good start. Things feel good. I haven’t felt this good since my second or third year,” he said. “Everything that I did this summer is just adding up. I feel fast, I feel strong. I don’t get tired. And I don’t want to lose that. So I’ve got to be patient and I can’t get ahead of myself.”

Portland was the last undefeated team in the Western Conference.


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