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LaMarcus Aldridge could return to Portland lineup Thursday. They need him. Desperately.

Mar 26, 2014, 1:06 PM EDT

The Portland Trail Blazers are 3-8 in their last 11, have lost three in a row now and hit a new low in a loss to Orlando on Tuesday. They are sliding down the Western Conference standings and look like the team everyone wants to face in the first round of the playoffs.

Except they could get their All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge back on Thursday. If not then, soon.

Aldridge has been out seven games after taking a hard fall on his back against the Spurs but told the media he hopes to play Thursday against Atlanta. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com has the quotes.

“I say I’m trying to go no matter what [against Atlanta on Thursday] but if I look good enough to play [in Wednesday’s workout], then I’m going to play,” he said. “It’s up to the medical staff….

“It (losing) makes me want to play even worse, yes it does,” Aldridge answered in frustration. “But it’s not about me, it’s about the medical staff and them saying I can play. I’ve been wanting to play but obviously if you can’t move, you can’t play.”

We’ll see if he gets clearance, I wouldn’t bet big on it. Watch the video above and he says he wanted to play Tuesday night but “I can’t run, and if you can’t run what can you do?” So you can’t run on Tuesday but you’re going to play in an NBA game on Thursday?

I understand how frustrated Aldridge is, and you can see watching them play how much they miss his offense — no Aldridge makes it easier to focus on Damian Lillard and the other jump shooters on that team. Portland has struggled on the defensive end as well in their last 10 games and Aldridge can help solidify there, too.

But the Blazers stand no chance in the playoffs without him, they need Aldridge healthy and all the way back. If he’s not ready he can’t rush it. No matter how frustrating.

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