Sunday, July 21, 2024

Deandre Ayton missed Trail Blazers’ win against Nets because ice prevented him from getting to arena


NBA players have missed games for plenty of unusual reasons. Former Sacramento Kings forward Lionel Simmons once hurt his wrist and missed two games because he played too much Game Boy. Dennis Rodman infamously missed time in the middle of the 1998 season because he wanted to take an impromptu trip to Las Vegas. On Wednesday, we added another unusual absence to the list. Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton missed his game against the Brooklyn Nets because of ice.

Yes, ice. Frozen water. Portland has been dealing with brutally cold weather for most of the past week. There is currently a giant sheet of ice leading out of Ayton’s neighborhood. Ayton has missed the past 11 games due to injury, and during his pre-game press conference, Blazers coach Chauncey Billups explained that while Ayton was healthy enough to play, he hadn’t yet arrived at the arena. Casey Holdahl reported that Ayton spent hours trying to find a way to combat the ice, but could not find a solution that would get him to the arena. So he sat out.

The Blazers ultimately started Duop Reath in Ayton’s place, as they have done for the past six games while Ayton has been injured, and it ultimately worked out for them. The Blazers overcame an 11-point deficit to win in the closing seconds thanks to an Anfernee Simons runner. Even if they’d lost, the stakes of the game were fortunately somewhat minimal for the Blazers. At 10-29 entering the game, the Blazers aren’t exactly in the thick of the playoff race, so the absence of their starting center wouldn’t have meant much in the grand scheme of things. If anything, this incident could help the Blazers plan for future ice-related issues.

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Still, “DNP-ice” is a new one where the NBA is concerned. Sadly, Ayton did not receive that designation before the game, instead getting ruled out as “not with team” on the injury report. Ayton should be back on the floor Friday when the Blazers host the Indiana Pacers.

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