|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
Nicolas Batum will wear a protective splint on his left middle finger for the next six weeks, a measure that will allow the Portland Trail Blazers forward to play despite an avulsion fracture to the finger.
Batum plans to play Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, meaning the Blazers will have the same starting lineup for the 35th consecutive game.
|Nicolas Batum will wear a protective splint on his fractured left middle finger.|
Although the injury to Batum marks the first health scare to Portland's starting lineup, the Blazers' bench could receive a lift from rookie C.J. McCollum, who will be activated for the first time Tuesday after missing the first two months of the season with a foot injury.
Batum and McCollum both practiced Monday with the Blazers, who have lost three of their last five games following a 24-5 start.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts said Batum had a "good practice" Monday but declined to say whether McCollum would play Tuesday against Sacramento.
Batum suffered the injury in Saturday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The 25-year-old said that the splint felt "weird" but did not impact his shooting.
"It feels weird sometimes," Batum said, according to The Oregonian. "It was my first time practicing with it. I can shoot the ball pretty well."
Batum is averaging 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 34 games this season. Stotts said that the injury clearly is "bothering" the 6-foot-8 forward.
"He had a good practice today -- he went through contact, made some 3s," Stotts said, according to The Oregonian. "He looked much more comfortable than I had anticipated.
"Obviously it's bothering him. As far as limitations, that's probably up to him."
McCollum, the 10th overall selection in the 2013 draft, fractured his foot on Oct. 5 and has not appeared in a game this season.
Although the rookie guard played well in two games with Portland's D-League affiliate this past weekend, Stotts would not commit to playing McCollum on Tuesday.
"I don't know if he's really ready to come back and play," Stotts said. "I thought his two games in Boise were good. He's had good practices. But the decision will be made when it's made. I think the most important thing is we get a win in Sacramento."