THE Portland Trail Blazers bounced back from a huge loss with a stunning 110-106 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday in San Antonio (Thursday, Manila time).
Aldridge missed two games due to minor heart arrhythmia, but he has been cleared to return in full to all basketball-related activities, and with the full workload he played on Wednesday it seems safe to assume he won't be limited at all moving forward.
"We are thankful that LaMarcus will be able to rejoin the team", said Spurs General Manager RC Buford in the press release. "All of us have been impressed with the professionalism and the grace he has shown in dealing with this hard situation". Aldridge, who has a history of minor heart issues, underwent a series of tests and consultations over the weekend to ensure he could safely return to action.
"Being a consummate pro, he was able to do everything that was necessary to bring this to some sort of conclusion, and that wasn't easy throughout the year", Popovich said.
"Throughout the year he has gone through some procedures and done some things that were not pleasant. He's shown a lot of class and a lot of fortitude in the way he's done it all", Pop said.
The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Aldridge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome - which can cause a rapid heartbeat - at the end of his rookie season with the Trail Blazers in April 2007. The Kings made 16 three-pointers, the most important of them being Anthony Tolliver's team-high fifth of the night with less than a minute left that gave Sacramento a four-point lead.
San Antonio tips off against Portland tonight at 7pm at the AT&T Center.
Over the course of 32.6 minutes per game in 2016-2017, Aldridge is now averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, an even two assists and 1.1 blocks per outing.
The Spurs desperately need Aldridge if they are going to leapfrog the scuffling Warriors for the top spot in the West.