Sunday, April 6, 2008
Przybilla breaks hand, putting Blazers center on shelf
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla broke a bone in his right hand during the second quarter of Portland's game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Przybilla was trying to block a shot by San Antonio's Ime Udoka and his hand hit the rim hard. He left the game with 2:56 left before the half.
The Blazers said he will miss the team's final five games. Przybilla is one of just three Blazers who have played in all 76 games so far in the season.
"That's a sad situation. Joel has played well all year long," Portland coach Nate McMillan. "I know that one of Joel's goals was to play all 82 games, and to have a freak deal like that happen is really too bad."
The 7-foot-1 starter was averaging 4.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. Since the All-Star break, he had been averaging 11.4 rebounds.
Przybilla was not available after Sunday's game. The Spurs beat the Blazers 72-65.
"This is all the more unfortunate because Joel had his mind set to play all 82 games this season, and he almost made it happen," general manager Kevin Pritchard said. "When you look at what he's accomplished, Joel put his heart and soul into this season, and he gave us his all every night."
Przybilla had a career-high 26 rebounds on March 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers, tying the franchise record for a regulation game and coming one short of the overall record.
The fourth-year Blazer also had 93 blocked shots this season.
"He went up and broke it, that's crazy," teammate LaMarcus Aldridge said. "That's bad luck there."
The Trail Blazers will have to look to Raef LaFrentz, who was averaging about seven minutes a game, and 6-foot-11 Channing Frye to fill in for Przybilla. McMillan suggested the team might play forward Travis Outlaw in the position.