This past Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 94-75, however the victory was bittersweet. Shooting guard Wesley Matthews went down with a season-ending torn achilles.
Matthews was making a cut toward the basket when his leg slipped and he hit the floor. The arena was dead silent as the Blazers medical staff walked onto the court to check on Matthews. He was assisted off the court and back to the Blazers training room, where he received the devastating news.
Matthews was averaging 15.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season. Besides losing a significant portion of scoring, the Blazers will also lose Matthews’ tenacious and scrappy defense.
Luckily for the Blazers, the recently acquired Arron Afflalo plays a similar brand of basketball to that of Matthews. However, Matthews has been labeled the “heart and soul” of the team by star player Lamarcus Aldridge. The injury has the potential to slow down the Blazers final playoff push as Matthews was such an integral member of the team.
Afflalo will replace Matthews well, but now he won’t be available on the bench. Look for C.J McCollum to fill in Afflalo’s role of backup shooting guard.
The timing of Matthews’ injury is unfortunate for him both on the court and financially. He was in the last year of his contract and was playing extremely well and was going to get rewarded with a large contract at the end of the year. However, with the injury teams will be hesitant to show a big money contract to him as it’s not guaranteed he will come back full strength.
Moving forward, the injury to Wesley Matthews will have a significant effect on the Blazers come playoff time. The injury will test the team’s depth especially at the shooting guard position. Since Matthews injury, the Blazers have suffered a loss at Minnesota, however they will look to turn their situation around this Wednesday when they play the Houston Rockets.