Blazers Shootaround Notebook: Injury updates, peeling back the playbook & more from Milwaukee

Jamie Hudson

MILWAUKEE – It's safe to say that the Portland Trail Blazers have been bitten by the injury bug this season.  

For tonight's game against the Bucks, Anfernee Simons (left ankle sprain) and Hassan Whiteside (right hip tendinosis) are questionable, while Damian Lillard (back spasms) is out.

Simons went through shootaround this morning, but Whiteside did not.

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Lillard, who has been dealing with back spasms and will miss his second consecutive contest tonight, said he is ‘hopeful' to return to the court in the Blazers next game at Cleveland on Saturday.

Lillard has been receiving treatment on his back, and says he is trying everything he can do to loosen the muscles. He mentioned he has taken a lot of Epsom salt baths and has been wearing the heat/vibration wrap around his back.

"I've been having it on all day, walking around all day with it," Lillard added of the heat pack.

The Blazers point guard has been dealing with back pain since the Sacramento game back on November 12th.

"It started out just agitated, a little bit irritated, and I think the fact that I just didn't think much of it, so I just kept playing, and I didn't tone it down or nothing like that -- I was still doing my shooting routine, I was still playing the same way, so it just kind of got worse each game and it got to the point where you gotta be smarter, instead of trying to be tough… Especially if it's going to come down to our season."

Not only have the Blazers been dealing with injuries, but also the team is currently all about getting Carmelo Anthony acclimated as quickly as possible.

Lillard expressed how he thinks it will be easy to build chemistry with Melo.

"His understanding of being an NBA player for so long, and my understanding, and him being who he is, and me being who I am, it won't take much. At this point, I think it's just getting on the court together, and I think it's kind of a good thing that his first few games I'm not out there so… there's even more opportunity out there for him to get in rhythm and find himself," Lillard said.

Blazers Coach Terry Stotts talked about what it has been like to peel back the playbook:

"It reminds me of the old CBA days where there was a lot of player turnover and you gotta kinda go back to square one with some of the offensive sets. The good thing is that Melo's a veteran, he's been around, he knows sets, he knows the game and so that transition makes it a lot easier."

Coach Stotts also mentioned getting Anthony more acquainted with the playbook will be a ‘gradual' process.

Melo expressed how team chemistry "doesn't happen overnight."

"I'm still picking up plays. I'm relying a lot on my experience and playing against Portland and the plays that they used to run, but it's going to take some time to like really getting the time down. Playing with CJ [McCollum] now is very different as opposing to playing with CJ and Dame. So, it's timing, it's flow, it's rhythm, it's all of those things that if you're not in basketball it's very hard to understand that."

Anthony also talked about how is body feels ‘great' after his debut on Tuesday night.

You can watch the Blazers-Bucks game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app.

Blazers Shootaround Notebook: Injury updates, peeling back the playbook & more from Milwaukee originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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