PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — In the midst of one of his best seasons, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has suffered a hairline fracture in his left foot.
McCollum will wear a walking boot and be evaluated in four weeks.
McCollum was averaging a career-best 26.7 points, as well as five assists, per game when he was injured Saturday during a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
“I don’t want people to feel bad. There’s a lot of people going through a lot worse situations than me,” he said Tuesday. “So I’ll be OK. I’ve been though injuries before, some foot injuries that were more severe that required surgery, some that required not walking for months at a time. So I’ll be able to deal with this accordingly.”
McCollum’s injury is the latest to befall the Blazers. Center Jusuf Nurkic fractured his wrist during a game last week against the Indiana Pacers and is out indefinitely. The Blazers announced Tuesday that he had surgery and will be evaluated in six weeks.
In his eighth NBA season, McCollum was first thought to have a sprain but the team said additional imaging showed a hairline fracture to the lateral cuneiform.
It was unclear when he was injured but it appeared that Atlanta’s Clint Capela stepped on his foot following a layup in the opening quarter. The Blazers went on to win the game 112-106.
McCollum has had two previous left foot injuries, but he said this one was completely different in that it’s a different part of his foot and doesn’t require surgery.
He said the injury coming in the midst of the best start of his career was “terrible timing.”
“There’s nothing I can really do about it. I work hard and take care of myself. I put a lot of time and effort into my body,” he said. “This is one of those situations where there’s not much I could have done.”
Rodney Hood took McCollum’s place in Monday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, finishing with 21 points in Portland’s 125-104 loss.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts said McCollum was playing at an All-Star level.
“Just like when I heard Nurk was going to be out for a while, my thoughts always go to the player first in these situations. What they’re going to be going through, how it impacts them and how they come back from it,” Stotts said. “Obviously, it affects our team and we have to get back on track and figure out ways to win without him.”
Nurkic was averaging 9.8 points and 7.7. assists before he was injured. Enes Kanter has started in his absence.
The Blazers are also missing forward Zach Collins, who is expected to be out several months after ankle surgery in December.
McCollum said injuries are a part of the business and that it’s important to maintain perspective.
“My aunt has COVID,” he said, “so there’s a lot of stuff that’s more important that what we’re going though.”