Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews attempted to play in Sunday night's thrilling win over the New Orleans Hornets after missing two games with a contusion and flexor strain in his left hip, but his comeback was short-lived. Matthews played just three minutes and 30 seconds before leaving the game and never returning.
Here's what Matthews had to say after the game:
"I wouldn't have been effective if I tried to keep playing. There's no point in me trying to keep playing. I realized that as I tried to fight over the screens, it was irritated, it hindered me the next play. It's not a setback, it's just not there yet... We've done everything right, made the right progressions, taking it day by day, step by step, stressing it a little more, seeing what it could handle. Tonight was a positive. We won and I didn't set myself back... I'm getting closer. That's the first time it was live, and there's no better way to test out where you're at than in a game setting."
Matthews initially injured his hip back in an ugly loss to the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 8. After rehabbing for a week, the guard started Sunday and knocked down a three-pointer before exiting the game in favor of Victor Claver. Matthews said afterward that the hip just "didn't feel right."
Portland does not play again until Thursday against the Denver Nuggets, so Matthews will have some time to heal up. For the season, the guard is averaging 15.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 35.7 minutes per game. He's shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range.