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Blazers' Matthews is hurting, but pressing on

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

Earlier this season, a hip injury put Matthews briefly on the bench in street clothes for the first time in his four-year NBA career. He had played in 250 straight games, second-most among active players behind Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.

In a game at New Orleans just before the All-Star break, Matthews collided with rookie Austin Rivers and fell awkwardly. He couldn't put weight on the leg and needed to be helped off the court.

Matthews missed Portland's first game back after the break, but returned to face the Lakers and Celtics. The victory over Boston snapped a seven-game Portland losing streak, the team's longest of the season.

"As long as I feel I'm not going to further damage my future, I'm going to keep playing," he said.

But it clearly isn't easy, by the looks of his limp. And after the big 3-pointer against the Celtics, Matthews grabbed his elbow.

"Every game I'm looking up and praying, 'Let me get through this quarter,'" he said.

Matthews continues to receive treatment on both his leg and elbow. The plan after the Boston game was to hook up to electric stimulation machines at home and watch the movie "Ironman."

He's putting himself through all this for one reason: hope. While the Blazers were hurt by the seven-game losing streak, they are not out of it yet by any means. Matthews even has a theory that if the team can put together five three-game winning streaks over the next 26 games, it will be enough to get into the playoffs.

Portland missed the postseason last year.

"We haven't lost hope. We haven't lost belief," Matthews said. "We still feel we can make these playoffs. We know what we've got to do."