The difference between having and missing LaMarcus Aldridge has been night and day for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The All-Star power forward missed seven games with a back injury in a March 12 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his team went 3-4 during that stretch. But they are 2-0 since he returned Thursday and enter Sunday's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies (9 p.m. ET, NBATV) with renewed momentum.

Aldridge had 25 points and 16 rebounds in his first game back Thursday, a 100-85 road win against the Atlanta Hawks. But while he was quieter during Friday's 91-74 victory at the Chicago Bulls, his presence alone carried Portland.

The 6-11, lanky forward scored a season-low five points on 2-for-10 shooting but pulled down 13 rebounds and came up with four steals. That allowed guards Damian Lillard and Mo Williams provide the majority of the offense.

"Whether he scores or not, you can tell when he's on the court," Bulls center Joakim Noah said after the game. "He changes their team."

The Blazers, once the top team in the Western Conference and making noise as a potential surprise title contender, have struggled down the stretch. Aldridge was discussed early in the season as a potential MVP candidate. Leading up to Friday's game, however, the Blazers had lost nine of their last 14 games, barely clinging to the fifth seed in a crowded Western Conference playoff race.