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Aldridge said on Thursday that he needed surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb and was expected to miss six to eight weeks.
But just hours before the game against the Wizards, the Blazers announced on Twitter that the three-time All-Star would play.
Aldridge hurt his thumb when his hand came down on the knee of Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins in the second quarter of the Blazers’ 98-95 victory on Monday night.
The 6-foot-11 power forward leads Portland with averages of 23.5 points and 10.4 rebounds and 1.18 blocks per game. He’s one of just three NBA players averaging at least 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The injury was a big blow to the Blazers, who were already dealing with a depleted front line. Center Robin Lopez is out with a fractured right hand and center Joel Freeland is sidelined with a strained right shoulder.
Starting small forward Nicolas Batum left Thursday night’s 90-89 loss at home to the Boston Celtics after he aggravated a wrist injury that had been bothering him. Batum sat out against the Wizards to rest the wrist, the team announced on Twitter.
With Thursday’s loss, Portland was 31-13 with losses in five of the team’s last six games.
Aldridge said Thursday that he had discussed with the doctors whether he could play with it, but ultimately it was decided that he should have the surgery.
“They didn’t feel the risk was going to be worth the reward,” he said. “It could be worse on the back end, or I could even wait two weeks and try to play and not end up playing anyways. So we just felt like, to us, the right thing to do is take care of it now.”
In his ninth NBA season, all with Portland, Aldridge recently moved into second on the franchise list for both points (11,782) and rebounds (5,095). He trails only Clyde Drexler with 18,050 points and 5,339 rebounds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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