Blazers hopeful Turner will return to Portland for full evaluation after breaking sternum

Darren Collison and Damian Lillard both returned to the starting lineup Thursday night after missing three games with separate knee injuries.

So they figured it would only be a matter of time before Evan Turner’s injury left the starting unit shorthanded again.

Turner, however, was unable to go for the remainder of the preseason game because of a fractured right sternum. That’s dealing another blow to the Blazers who are already without Aldridge, Lillard and Collison due to preseason injuries. Turner will return to Portland for further evaluation, but is expected to miss two weeks.

Turner first got hurt on Aug. 27 in Orlando. He suffered a grade one strain that was affecting his left leg. Two days later, he suffered a more severe strain and sprained the sternum.

The news was announced after Portland’s loss to the Utah Jazz in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

The Blazers were already down to eight healthy bodies after Meyers Leonard picked up his sixth foul early in the second quarter of a loss to Utah.

But Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender left the game in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and did not return.

Jalen Rose worked as an analyst for NBA TV while filling in for the injured Turner, and a former member of the Blazers roster now playing in Serbia, Wolfski Koprivica, also played on Turner’s team.

Blazers’ player development coach Scott Brooks had been scheduled to work with Turner on shooting the past couple days, and he also consulted with the Blazers’ training staff.

When asked by AA if Turner would return to Portland for the full evaluation, Head athletic trainer Matthew Griffin replied, “It appears to be at least two weeks.”

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