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Blazers G Anfernee Simons expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to thumb surgery

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is expected to miss four to six weeks after tearing the UCL in his right thumb on Wednesday, the team announced.

Simons exited early in the Blazers' season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers with what was described as a thumb injury, but an MRI revealed the extent of the damage. He finished the night with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting (2-of-6 from 3-point range).

The 24-year-old's injury is a significant setback for the Blazers given that he was positioned to become the franchise's new star following the exit of Damian Lillard. The guard saw career highs nearly across the board last season, averaging 21.1 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Simons signed a four-year, $100 million extension in the summer of 2022.

Last offseason saw the Blazers' roster massively overhauled. Out are Lillard and longtime starting center Jusuf Nurkić, in are Deandre Ayton, Malcolm Brogdon and No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson. Simons' injury removes a little more continuity for the team as a transitionary season begins, with more pressure on Brogdon and Henderson to manage touches in the backcourt.

The Blazers' next game against the Orlando Magic is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET Friday.