Nicolas Batum questionable for Game 3 after MRI

Nicolas Batum

Jason Quick of The Oregonian recently reported that Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum is questionable for Game 3 after this morning’s MRI showed a slight strain in his right shoulder — the same shoulder Batum had surgically repaired in October due to a torn labrum, causing him to miss 45 games this season.

The 21-year-old lengthy swingman collided shoulder-first with Steve Nash right before the buzzer to end the third quarter in Game 2, and was unable to return.

The Frenchman couldn’t lift his right arm above his head after the game, but Batum played with a strained shoulder for seven months in 2009 and is confident that he can give it a go in Game 3.

“You know last year I played seven months with it and that was worse,” Batum told The Oregonian after last night’s 119-90 loss to the Suns. “So I’m sure I’m going to play.”

Although he said that he’s “sure he’s going to play,” he estimated his chances as being 50-50 and is expected to be a game-time decision.

“It means nothing to them whatsoever,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said at practice Wednesday. “You want to start talking about the guys that have got injuries?

“They’ll just plug somebody else in there and they’ll play their butts off. That’s what they do. That’s what they’ve done all year.”

Batum is just another name on the Portland’s never-ending laundry list of injuries, but his absence would be a killer for the already-depleted Blazers. The lockdown defender and above-average three-point shooter went off for 18 in Game 1, and he added 12 in three quarters of Game 2. If Batum is unable to play expect the Blazers to turn to Martell Webster, who scored 16 points in 35 minutes in Game 2.

“For us, if Batum’s not there it means they’ll plug Webster in or somebody else in and they’ll play great and we’ll still have to beat them,” Gentry said.

Although the Suns have the momentum the series is still tied, but if Batum is unable to go Phoenix has to feel good about its chances in the Rose Garden in Game 3.

Tyler Lockman contributed reporting.

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