Damian Lillard is once again having a brilliant season even though the Blazers are currently 10th in the western conference. They are one win behind of the San Antonio Spurs, who are now in the last playoff spot. Lillard is one of the rare players in the NBA that didn’t miss a lot of games in his career since he missed only 25 so far. That is pretty remarkable when you consider we live in the “load management” era where a lot of star players are taking days off, which causes frustration among numerous fans.
In an interview for Bleacher Report, Lillard gave his thoughts on the whole Kawhi situation by saying there might be an injury the public doesn’t know about. Lillard didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon of people that are convinced Kawhi is not playing because he doesn’t want to play.
“When you love to play, you play. People give Kawhi a lot of shit for playing every other game, but I feel like he is dealing with something, where he’s playing when he feels healthy enough to play. So it depends. He might have an injury that he shouldn’t be playing with, and he’s playing through something. He’s managing it to the best of his ability.”
Lillard always had a systematic approach to his workout regime, and one thing that he does differently than other players is that he doesn’t play pick up basketball during summer. A lot of NBA players are involved in various basketball leagues or tournaments during the summer, but Lillard believes that could be one reason why they are feeling exhausted when the NBA season starts.
“I don’t play pickup all summer. That’s where players could start with their load management. You see all these tapes with guys playing in pro-ams and pickup games, and then we get to the season, and it’s load management. I know it’s a long season. I play a lot of minutes. There’s a lot expected of me. So it’s my responsibility to take that into consideration with my training and what I’m doing. “I work out. I box. I swim. I lift. I start playing pickup with the team right before camp.”
His entire daily life is completely adjusted to his NBA career, which means the diet, sleep, and getting the right treatment is a part of his regime. Lillard is intelligently watching after himself and his health so that when the time comes, he is fully prepared.
“I get in the reps I need, and then I get off the court. … If we have an off day, I get a massage, I get in the cold tub, I stay off my feet, I drink a lot of water, I get sleep. Stuff like that. I stay in the house instead of being out and about moving around all the time. I think there are ways we can manage what we go through as players without saying, ‘I’m not playing tonight.’ You just have to be smart, man.”
Despite the fact, Blazers are still finding themselves as a team, Lillard’s efficiency has been one thing that is constant this season for them. Lillard is averaging 27 points and 7.6 assists per game shooting 44 percent from the field, which isn’t bad at all for such a volume shooter. Knowing Dame, he will come prepared and ready to go for every game, which is something the Blazers will need in the upcoming months if they want to make it to the playoffs this season.