As the Portland Trail Blazers continue their quest towards securing the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs, they will reportedly have to overcome a major injury to one of their key contributors. According to NBC Sports Northwest’s Dwight Jaynes, guard CJ McCollum has a fracture in his back. McCollum suffered the injury last Thursday and has played in three games since.
Though CJ McCollum struggled in their win over the Dallas Mavericks, he did seal the deal by hitting a pair of free throws in the final seconds to extend Portland’s lead to three points. McCollum shot 2-14 from the field on the evening and ended the game with eight points and four rebounds.
The Blazers still remain very much alive but have been hanging on to close games due to heroic performances from Damian Lillard. Though the Blazers are scraping by, for now, it’s hard to envision them having a chance against the top-seeded Lakers if McCollum isn’t 100% healthy.
The Blazers are currently battling with the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff spot. It appears that McCollum will continue to play through the injury but a back fracture could hinder his play quite a bit. Portland may rely even more on backup guard Gary Trent Jr. to provide another scoring option alongside Lillard and Carmelo Anthony.