LaMarcus Aldridge cleared to play as Spurs host Portland

Aldridge experienced occurrence of minor heart arrhythmia

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

SAN ANTONIO – When the San Antonio Spurs take the floor Wednesday night against the Portland Trailblazers, they will have their starting power forward back in the lineup.

LaMarcus Aldridge has been cleared to play by the medical staff. Aldridge missed the last two games suffering from a mild case of heart arrhythmia.​

"We are obviously thrilled about that, but more importantly thrilled that the doctors feel that he's fine in the sense that their not putting him danger or anything like that so that is the most important part," said Gregg Popovich.

Aldridge felt like something was wrong during the Oklahoma City game last Thursday. 

Popovich revealed Wednesday morning that is was something Aldridge had been dealing with all season. 

"He's dealt with this all year long which nobody really knew about so being a consummate pro he was able to do everything that was necessary to bring this to some sort of a conclusion and that wasn't easy throughout the year," said Popovich.

"He's gone through some procedures, had to do some things that are not pleasant and he's shown a lot of class and a lot of fortitude in the way he has done it all," Popovich said.

While he was away the Spurs did manage two wins. David Lee took over the starting role for Aldridge and even though he played great, scoring 12 points against Golden State and 14 against Atlanta, Aldridge's teammates are glad to have him back.

"Good, obviously we also want people as healthy as they can be for starters and then once they are then basketball comes back in the picture and you know back on the court so its good to have him for tonight," said Patty Mills.

When his teammates first found out about his condition they were obviously anxious.

"You just hope everything is right with your friend because that is the most important thing basketball is besides everything else again, your heat felt but your obviously glad that everything is alright now he's good to go," Mills said.

It just so happens LaMarcus returns on a night the Spurs host his former team, the Portland Trailblazers.

Portland is a team fighting for its playoff life. They are currently two and a half games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Very versatile team, very dynamic, we are going to have to get ready for them, play with the same intensity, focus that we have been lately," said Pau Gasol.

The Blazers feature two of the top guards in the league, Damian Lilliard who is averaging 26 points a game and CJ McMollum, averaging 23 points a game.  

"Make sure they don't get anything easy make sure every shot is tough," said Kawhi Leonard.

The Spurs (52-14) continue to battle with Golden State (53-14) for the top spot in the west.

San Antonio needs a win to have the same record as the Warriors since they beat he Sixers Tuesday night.

As long at the Spurs and Warriors have the same record, San Antonio would get the top spot since they have the tiebreaker. 

Below is the Spurs Facebook post on Aldridge's return:

"We are very thankful that LaMarcus will be able to rejoin the team. All of us have been impressed with the professionalism and grace he has shown in dealing with this difficult situation." - R.C. Buford

Posted by San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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