LaMarcus Aldridge cleared to play as Spurs host Portland

Hazel Gray
March 21, 2017

SAN ANTONIO - Forward LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Spurs' lineup on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers after missing two games because of a minor heart arrhythmia.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised Aldridge for the way he handled the adversity.

Aldridge's return comes after what the team described as a "process" led by its medical staff, which included multiple tests and examinations, as well as consultations with cardiology experts. So when the Spurs scored the next five points to cut Portland's lead to 104-102 with 53.7 seconds to play, nobody on the Trail Blazers bench nor watching at home could have been surprised.

"We are thankful that LaMarcus will be able to rejoin the team", Spurs GM RC Buford said in a statement. "All of us have been impressed with the professionalism and the grace he has shown in dealing with this hard situation".

The team announced in a press release on Sunday (NZ time) that the 211cm 31-year-old would be held out of on-court activities due to an unusual heartbeat, which was the third time in his career a heart problem had kept him sidelined. He and fellow guard Tony Parker are no longer the most important keys to the Spurs' success, but having them play well in the playoffs is what could give San Antonio a narrow edge over the high-powered Warriors.

The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Aldridge is averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots in 58 games this season. San Antonio trails the Warriors by half a game for the best record in the National Basketball Association, with the two teams set to square off in Oakland on March 29. "He's shown a lot of class and a lot of fortitude in the way he's done it all", Pop said.

Leonard led the way for San Antonio, scoring 34 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out six assists, but it wasn't enough to stop Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers.

The Spurs were however able to cut the deficit to two after LaMarcus Aldridge got fouled on his dunk and made the free throw with 53 seconds left in the game.

Other reports by VgToday

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