The Trail Blazers may have lost Damian Lillard for an extended period of time when he decided to undergo surgery earlier this week, but they’re getting back one of their top weapons in his stead.
CJ McCollum is expected to return to the Portland lineup on Monday against Orlando, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. McCollum has missed more than a month of action after sustaining a collapsed lung.
He sustained the injury in a game against the Celtics back on Dec. 4. McCollum took a blow to the ribs near the end of the contest and was later diagnosed with a collapsed lung. ESPN reported on Dec. 23 that the lung had healed fully.
McCollum was averaging 20.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game before the injury on 42.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. He will have missed 18 games if he returns against the Magic as planned.
The Trail Blazers will remain without one of their stars in Lillard, who decided earlier this week to pursue surgery to correct an abdominal injury he had been battling since last summer’s Olympics. He’ll be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks, and his return will hinge on his health and Portland’s standing.
Portland sits at 16-25 and 10th in the Western Conference going into Friday night, putting the Blazers in the final play-in game spot.