Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons exited Tuesday’s loss to Washington in the third quarter due to a sprained right ankle and didn’t return.
Blazers guard Anfernee Simons will have the MRI on his right ankle on Thursday, sources tell ESPN. Simons sprained ankle in loss to Wizards on Tuesday night. X-rays were negative.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2023
X-rays on Simons’ ankle were negative, but he’s expected to undergo an MRI on Wednesday to further diagnosis the injury.
“I guess we’ll kind of see the severity tomorrow,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said after Tuesday’s game. “We’ll get an MRI on it. It didn’t look awesome, though.”
The injury occurred with about 12 seconds left in the third quarter. Simons drove toward the basket, pulled up and attempted a jump shot over Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. When he landed, Simons’ right foot came down on Kuzma’s right foot, causing his ankle to roll. He had to be helped off the court by the training staff and was on crutches after the game.
The Blazers play just once more before the NBA All-Star break, on Thursday in Sacramento, so it seems safe to assume Simons will sit out at least that game. He accepted an invitation to compete in the three-point contest at All-Star weekend, but his participation is likely in jeopardy now.
If Simons has to miss extended time after the break, it would be a tough blow for a Blazers team that’s fighting to stay in the play-in mix in the Western Conference. Portland currently has a 28-30 record.
Simons is the Blazers’ second-leading scorer this season with 21.4 PPG on .450/.381/.913 shooting. The team’s backcourt isn’t especially deep after Portland moved Gary Payton II and Josh Hart at last week’s trade deadline.
Rookie Shaedon Sharpe and newly acquired veteran Ryan Arcidiacono would be among the candidates for increased roles with Simons out. Portland could also lean more heavily on wings like Cam Reddish, Matisse Thybulle, and Nassir Little.
Blazers are no where near favorites to make the playoffs according to Oregon sports-books. A play-in tournament appearance is more likely.