PORTLAND, Ore. — UPDATE: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard had surgery on his abdomen on Thursday morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. William C. Meyers in Philadelphia. Lillard told Haynes he "feels good" after the surgery and that the timeline for Lillard to be re-evaluated is now five to six weeks. Haynes and ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday that Lillard would be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks.
The Trail Blazers confirmed Haynes' report in a press release Thursday morning, adding that the surgery was performed by Dr. Meyers at The Vincera Institute in Philadelphia. The Blazers said in the release that Lillard will be re-evaluated in 6 weeks.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard will have surgery to address a lower abdominal injury that has bothered him all season, according to multiple reports. The news was first reported Wednesday afternoon by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports and Shams Charania of The Athletic both reported that the surgery will happen Thursday. Charania reported Lillard will be sidelined "indefinitely" and Windhorst and Haynes reported he'll be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks. According to Haynes, "Lillard saw two specialists this week in St. Louis and Philadelphia, and both agreed this was the best course of action."
Earlier this season, Lillard said he's played through abdominal pain, off and on, for the past three or four seasons. He aggravated the injury during last summer's Olympics, where he didn't play well, shooting just 38% from the field and 34% from the 3-point line. He's missed 11 games this season due to the injury and the poor play continued. Lillard is averaging 24 points, his lowest scoring average since 2015, and shooting 40.2% from the field and 32.4% from 3, the lowest shooting percentages of his career.
Lillard could return to play this season, according to Haynes and Windhorst, but that will be determined both by his health and where the Blazers are in the standings at the time. The timeline of six to eight weeks places Lillard's potential earliest return date between Feb. 24 and March 10, which means he'll miss at least the next 20-25 games. The Blazers have 42 games left this season.
Portland (16-24) is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference and has a 4-7 record this season without Lillard. Without their star player, many pundits anticipate Portland will prioritize the development of its young players, like Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little, the rest of the season. If the Blazers go in this direction, the franchise would eschew wins and a playoff push and position themselves for a top selection in this summer's NBA draft.
Since entering the starting lineup five games ago, the 22-year-old Simons has averaged 27.8 points and 7.6 assists in 37 minutes per game. Little, 21, took over as the starter at small forward on Dec. 8 and has since averaged 10.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.