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After testing his injured left thumb in a splint on the court, Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge informed the organization that he wanted to postpone surgery and make an immediate return to the lineup.
“I just want to try and play with it,” Aldridge told Yahoo Sports in a text message on Saturday afternoon. “We are having a good season and I want to keep it going. I’m going to try and play with it, if I can, and go from there.”
Aldridge will play against the Washington Wizards on Saturday night at the Moda Center in Portland.
The Blazers and Aldridge had planned a surgical procedure for torn ligaments in his thumb that would’ve sidelined him six to eight weeks, but Aldridge reported to the team’s practice facility on Saturday morning and informed the team trainer that he wanted to play, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
There are no assurances of how effectively, or how long, Aldridge can play with the injury, but there’s belief in the Portland organization that the long-term risk of this decision is minimal. Aldridge would’ve been required to wear a splint even after returning from surgery, sources told Yahoo Sports, so allowing him to try playing now isn’t believed to hold significantly more consequences.
Aldridge has averaged 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds for the Blazers, who hold the third-best record (31-13) in the Western Conference. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, Aldridge’s willingness to play with a serious injury likely speaks strongly to his long-term commitment to the Blazers organization.
Aldridge, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins are the only three players in the NBA averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Western Conference All-Star coaches began voting for reserves with the belief that Aldridge wouldn’t be available for the NBA All-Star Game in February, so it’s unclear how his desire to play again will impact the selection process.
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