LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts confirmed what star Damian Lillard said after Thursday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers: Despite a dislocated left index finger he suffered in Game 2, Lillard will be in the starting lineup for Game 3.
“He’s getting treatments today,” Stotts said. “Multiple treatments throughout the day.
“I believe he’ll be wearing a splint, but he will play.”
Lillard injured the finger when he hit it on Anthony Davis‘ shoe late in the third quarter and wound up sitting the entire fourth as the Lakers blew out the Blazers to even the series at one win apiece.
“I didn’t know what happened,” Lillard said. “I just know I reached from behind and, I didn’t know if it was his leg or his foot or if I just pushed my hand into his back or what, but I felt it right away. And when I felt it, I didn’t even want to look at it. But I looked, and it was off, and I immediately started trying to pull it back [in place]. … I got it to go back a little bit, but it was still out, and when I went to the back, they had to pull it back.”
Still, none of that was going to prevent Lillard, who has been on a tear ever since coming down to the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort last month, from playing against the Lakers in Game 3 and beyond.
“Oh, I’m playing,” Lillard said, adding that he had never dislocated his finger before.
For his part, Stotts said he would’ve been surprised if Lillard had said anything else.
“Honestly, it’s kind of what we expect,” Stotts said. “I totally anticipated, unless it was a broken finger, and even then … Dame has played through a lot of injuries.
“And this being the playoffs, I don’t think it surprised anybody. But certainly it sets the tone for the rest of the team.”
Lillard, who scored 34 points in Portland’s Game 1 victory before scoring 18 points in 30 minutes ahead of his injury in Game 2, scored 51 points against Philadelphia, 61 against Dallas and 43 against Brooklyn just to get the Blazers into the NBA’s play-in tournament over the weekend, where Portland beat Memphis to make it back to the playoffs.