Damian Lillard out with back spasms for Carmelo Anthony's debut vs. Pelicans

Cassandra Negley
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard walks upcourt during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in San Antonio. Portland won 121-116. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard will miss Tuesday's game with back spasms. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Carmelo Anthony has a contract, a new number and a likely debut date, but he’ll do it without his new teammate.

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will miss Tuesday night’s game in New Orleans against the Pelicans due to back spasms.

Lillard is averaging 28.6 points and 7.1 assists on 45.2 percent shooting through the first 14 games. The Trail Blazers are struggling, going 5-9 including a blowout loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.

“It’s such a long season,” Lillard said after the game, via the Athletic. “And we’ve won 13 games in a row before. And, things can’t go much worse. They just can’t go much worse.”

Without offensive star Lillard, they’ll have it even worse.

It’s expected to be Anthony’s debut for the team after he officially signed Tuesday. The veteran hasn’t played a game since Nov. 8, 2018, when he was with the Rockets. His signing with the Trail Blazers was seen as a good fit for all, and a needed move for Portland as its already dealing with injuries.

Anthony, 35, said in a YouTube video he started working with the team Friday on short notice, but asked for a few days for himself to get back into the mental and emotional aspect of playing. It’s why he did not play Monday after it was expected he’d make his debut. Since the team officially announced the signing Tuesday, it would seem he takes the court for them that evening.

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