Damian Lillard's heroics propelled the Portland Trail Blazers into the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in three years, but big man Enes Kanter also put in an admirable effort in the series-clinching win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 6-foot-11 center suffered a separated left shoulder in the first quarter of Game 5 on Tuesday and received an injection for the injury at halftime. Kanter was in noticeable pain as the game progressed but managed to gut through 32 minutes of play.
"I just tried to play through it," Kanter told reporters, including ESPN's Kevin Pelton. "We'll see what happens in the future."
Kanter remained a force despite the ailment, scoring 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and racking up a game-high 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
"Even with the pain, he was posting up," Portland head coach Terry Stotts said. "We played through him a little bit in the fourth quarter. He got some big rebounds but the toughness he showed, I think it's a little indicative of our team, the fact that everybody does whatever they can to get a win."
With starting center Jusuf Nurkic out for the season, Kanter has been more than a viable option. The 26-year-old averaged 18.1 points on 61.5 percent shooting and 11.4 boards in Nurkic's place during the Blazers' final eight regular-season games. Kanter's strong play has carried into the postseason, during which he's averaged 13.2 points on 57.4 percent shooting and 10.2 rebounds.
Kanter will have at least through Saturday to rest as Portland awaits the winner of the Denver Nuggets-San Antonio Spurs series.