For the first 13 games of the season, CJ McCollum was playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 26.7 points a game, staying efficient while taking on a larger role in the offense, taking more threes and hitting them at a career-best 44.1% clip. McCollum was playing at an All-Star, maybe All-NBA level.
Then he injured his foot.
That recovery has taken two months, but McCollum returns to the rotation on Tuesday against the Pelicans, Portland announced.
Portland went 14-11 in that stretch — they were also without starting center Jusuf Nurkic for those games, he is still a couple of weeks away from a return — mostly on the back of Damian Lillard carrying the offense and being clutch.
At 22-16, Portland sits tied for fifth in the West, avoiding the play-in games and within striking distance of the Clippers for the No. 4 seed and hosting a first-round playoff series. As the Trail Blazers get healthy, that goal seems attainable.