Should ailing LaMarcus Aldridge sit out the rest of the Blazers' season?
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  1. BlazerManiac
    Posts: 777

    Posted 04/11/2012 8:54 AM

    HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND BATUM!

    TUALATIN -- After the Trail Blazers suffered a defeat to the Houston Rockets on Monday night, a reporter asked LaMarcus Aldridge if he had contemplated resting the final eight games of a season that is going nowhere to preserve his aching body.

    "My body is pretty beat up," Aldridge said. "I'm definitely not getting any better. But I haven't said anything about it."

    A few hours later, Aldridge finally spoke up. The Blazers' All-Star power forward, who has been playing with a sore right hip for weeks, traveled to Vail, Colo., on Tuesday afternoon to visit Dr. Marc Phillipon and have his ailing hip evaluated.

    Aldridge's hip had been scrutinized by two specialists before Tuesday, the most recent on March 28, when he underwent what the team labeled a "precautionary" magnetic resonance imaging test. The results were negative and Aldridge played 36 minutes the following night against the New Orleans Hornets, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds in a 99-93 victory.

    But the pain has lingered. And after Houston dealt the Blazers' already-slim playoff hopes a virtual death blow Monday night, Aldridge and his agent, Thad Foucher, requested that Aldridge visit Phillipon for a third medical opinion.

    Aldridge did not practice with the Blazers on Tuesday afternoon and he's listed as questionable for Wednesday night's game against the Golden State Warriors. Regardless of the outcome of his visit with Phillipon, it seems fair to wonder: Should Aldridge just shut it down for the rest of the season?

    With eight games left, the Blazers (27-31) trail the Denver Nuggets (31-26) and Dallas Mavericks (31-26) by 4 1/2 games for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so a postseason berth is all but impossible. For weeks, fans and local pundits have been calling for the Blazers to scale back the play of known commodities such as Aldridge and point guard Raymond Felton in favor of young, relatively unknown players such as forward J.J. Hickson and rookie point guard Nolan Smith.

    The combination of the Houston loss and Aldridge's hip pain only magnifies this sentiment.

    "We're going to keep the door open for that if that's what it comes to," interim general manager Chad Buchanan said of shutting Aldridge down. "That is a possibility. I wouldn't rule it out. You hope it doesn't come to that, but it is a possibility depending on what the doctors feel."

    It might be a possibility no matter what diagnosis Phillipon's evaluation produces.

    Buchanan said he's been pleased with the way interim coach Kaleb Canales has balanced the Blazers' desire to win with the need to evaluate their young talent. But Buchanan also acknowledged the time may be arriving to put the future ahead of wins and losses during a meaningless final 15 days to the season.

    Buchanan said the team will sit down with Aldridge after he returns to Portland and decide as a group how they will approach the rest of the season. Once a decision is made about Aldridge, the conversation could stray to other players as well.

    Starting small forward Nicolas Batum, who missed Monday night's game because of tendinitis in his left quad, has been playing with tendinitis in his knees for weeks. He's listed as day-to-day. Center Joel Przybilla, who missed one game with a sprained right knee, has been playing with a variety of ailments.

    "We're in a major hole trying to make the playoffs," Buchanan said. "We understand that. (Monday) night's loss was a pretty big blow to any hope for us. We're going to listen to all of our guys. If they feel like, physically, (they're) just not there and the doctors tell you (they) need some rest, we're going to listen to them."  

    Hip pain is nothing new for Aldridge, which may explain his desire to seek a third medical opinion about his condition. In 2005, as a freshman at the University of Texas, Aldridge had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left hip. And last season, on Jan. 24, Aldridge underwent an MRI on his right hip after experiencing pain during a game.

    The results were negative and the injury was labeled a hip bruise. But, evidently, the pain has surfaced intermittently.

    Aldridge, who has played in 55 of 58 games this season, has been one of the NBA's most consistent and durable players over the past two seasons. Last season, he ranked third in the league in minutes played, averaging 39.6 in 81 games, and this season he ranks 17th, averaging 36.3 minutes per game.

    He leads the Blazers in scoring (21.7 points per game), rebounding (8.0) and minutes played (1,994) and earned his first All-Star Game nod this season.

    Will that be his final statistical line of the season?

    "If shutting him down for the remainder of the year is what's best, we're going to do that," Buchanan said of Aldridge. "Because long term is what we always have to be looking at with everything, especially with a guy like LaMarcus. He's a big part of our team and we have to listen to that."

    Notes: Batum participated in portions of the Blazers' Tuesday practice, which was merely a light walkthrough, but was not made available to the media. ... Canales was noncommittal on who might start for Aldridge and Batum, if one or both cannot play against the Warriors. But he was leaning toward starting Hickson for Aldridge and Jamal Crawford for Batum, if necessary.

    I am a fan of WES, the heart and soul of the Blazers.
  1. stacksfan2005
    Posts: 363

    Posted 04/11/2012 9:36 AM

    start hickson thabeet babbit matthews and flynn and play nolan jamal craig smith in rotation. use pryz for limited minuts. and try to keep matthews out as much as possible.
  1. BlazerManiac
    Posts: 777

    Posted 04/11/2012 12:24 PM

    Agreed.  This might be a chance for Thabeet to give us a good look.
    I am a fan of WES, the heart and soul of the Blazers.
  1. stacksfan2005
    Posts: 363

    Posted 04/11/2012 12:43 PM

    oh and i forgot thomas, use the heck out of thomas and jamal to fill minutes when young guys need a breather cause they probably wont be back.
  1. cmeese47
    Posts: 2735

    Posted 04/11/2012 1:45 PM

    Yes let LA sit we will not make the playoff so him playing does nothing for us. Hickson can use the minutes to help us get a better idea of what we got. I could care less about Thabeet.
    I am a fan of Getting Defensive Players This Summer.
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