Starting center Nikola Pekovic will miss his second consecutive game tonight against the Blazers because of continued pain and some swelling on his ankle bone.

Darko! will start in his place for the second straight game, this time with the assignment of trying to keep the ball out of Portland All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge's hands.

Pekovic tried running today, but said he still felt some pain.

He said x-rays are negative and he doesn't consider the injury serious.

"No, no, no," he said when asked if it was serious. "For sure, just a few days. Little rest, it will be fine. See how it feels tomorrow, hopefully it will be fine."

So Darko! gets the start again with instructions to push Aldridge as far away from the basket as possible.

Yes, big Pek is better suited for that.

Aldridge comes into tonight's game having been limited to just 14 points Saturday against the Wolves and 10 points Monday against New Orleans.

The most telling tidbit: He hasn't attempted a free throw in his last three games.

The Blazers tonight start a seven-game trip while the Wolves head out on one Sunday.

Both teams are chasing that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

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