Portland Trail Blazers Reveal Brutal Deandre Ayton Injury Update

Deandre Ayton, Trail Blazers, NBA
Feb 27, 2024; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton (2) scores a basket during the first half against Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 NBA regular season has not been a great one for the Portland Trail Blazers. Their loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night dropped their record to 15-42, which is fourth worst in the league. It also guaranteed the Trail Blazers their consecutive losing season under Chauncey Billups since he replaced Terry Stotts in 2021.

During the 106-96 loss, Portland suffered yet another brutal blow. Starting center Deandre Ayton was forced to exit the game because of a sprained right hand. The injury occurred late in the first quarter when Ayton collided with the Heat’s Kevin Love and fell hard to the floor.

Billups said that x-rays on Ayton’s hand came back negative, which is certainly an encouraging sign. But, he was unable to play in the second half, as the Trail Blazers eventually ruled him out late in the third quarter.

“I think there will be some further testing because he was in quite a bit of pain,” Billups added. “I thought [Ayton] dominated that first half. Offensively, defensively, he dominated the game.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Deandre Ayton, Chauncey Billups, Portland Trail Blazers Updates

It was unfortunate timing for Ayton, as Billups is correct in his assessment of him dominating. He played 19 minutes in the first half, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds. That marked three straight games with a double-double for Ayton, who has recorded one in five out of his last six games.

The recent stretch of production has been encouraging as Ayton’s first season in Portland overall has been somewhat disappointing. He is averaging 14.3 points and 10.6 rebounds with 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks in 31.6 minutes per game. Ayton is on pace to finish with his lowest average of points per game in his career.

With Ayton out of the lineup, Billups turned to Duop Reath to take his place. Reath, a 27-year-old rookie from South Sudan, has played in 43 games with the Trail Blazers. The last time Ayton was out of the lineup for a stretch he was inserted into the starting five, as he has started 11 games thus far this season.

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