N.B.A Players have missed games for many unusual reasons. Former Sacramento Kings forward Lionel Simmons once injured his wrist and missed two games because he played too much Game Boy. Dennis Rodman missed time in the middle of the 1998 season because he wanted to make a spontaneous 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 due to ice.
Yes, ice cream. Frozen water. Portland has been dealing with brutally cold weather for most of last week. Currently, a huge sheet of ice extends from Ayton’s neighborhood. Ayton has missed the last 11 games due to injury, and during his pregame press conference, Blazers coach Chauncey Billups stated that while Ayton was healthy enough to play, he had not yet arrived at the arena. Casey Holdahl reported that Ayton spent hours trying to find a way to combat the ice but couldn’t find a solution that would get him into the arena. So he sat outside.
The Blazers eventually started Duop Reath in Ayton’s place, as they had done the last six games when Ayton was injured, and it ultimately worked out for them. The Blazers overcame an 11-point deficit to win in the final seconds thanks to a runner from Anfernee Simons. Fortunately, even if they had lost, the stakes of the game would have been low for the Blazers. With 10:29 to play, the Blazers aren’t exactly in the thick of the playoff race, so the absence of their starting center wouldn’t have mattered 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 new to the NBA. Unfortunately, Ayton did not receive this award before the game, but was ejected from the game for not being on the team Injury report. Ayton should be back on the floor Friday when the Blazers host the Indiana Pacers.