Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard will leave the NBA’s bubble in Florida and return to Portland for further examination of his sprained right knee, the team announced Wednesday.
The announcement came hours after the Trail Blazers’ scheduled first-round series playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers was postponed, along with two other games scheduled Wednesday, as teams boycotted games in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Lillard, whose team trails the Western Conference’s top-seeded Lakers 3-1 in the series, wasn’t slated to play in Wednesday’s Game 5 because of his injury. He injured his knee in Game 4 on Monday.
Lillard had been playing brilliantly before his injury, carrying his team into the playoffs during the seeding round held in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and being unanimously voted as the bubble’s MVP. In the final three seeding games, Lillard had 51, 61 and 42 points, respectively. He has averaged 30.5 points inside the bubble since the season restarted July 30, that average second in the league only behind Houston’s James Harden, who’s averaging 33 points.
It was unclear late Wednesday if play would resume this season. The NBA has scheduled a special board of governors meeting for Thursday morning, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.