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Blazers bring back big man Joel Przybilla

Posted Feb 27 2012 1:04PM - Updated Feb 28 2012 8:26AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers are welcoming back free-agent center Joel Przybilla.

Przybilla, who spent more than six seasons in Portland before he was traded to Charlotte last season, has not played this season. The 7-foot-1 center was pursued by Chicago, Miami and Milwaukee but decided to rejoin the Blazers last week, pending a physical exam.

"Sometimes you make decisions with your head and sometimes with your heart," Przybilla said Monday. "And for me I looked at my heart and what was best for me and my family. I knew deep down they wanted to come back here."

Over an 11-year NBA career, Przybilla has averaged 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and four points per game. With the Blazers from 2004-11, he averaged 4.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.54 blocks.

"We've been actively trying to get Joel to return to Portland for some time now and we're thrilled with his decision to come back to the Trail Blazers family," Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan said in a prepared statement. "Joel is a hard worker, a great teammate and a player that does the little things to help you win, all qualities that will help us down the stretch run."

The 32-year-old big man ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee in December 2009 and had two surgeries. Pain in the knee hampered him last season and he played just five games with the Bobcats.

To make room for Przybilla on the roster, the Blazers waived guard Armon Johnson, who was in his second season with Portland. In 39 games, Johnson has averaged 2.9 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 7.2 minutes.

There had been speculation that the Blazers would release injured center Greg Oden, the former No. 1 draft pick who is out for the season after his third microfracture knee surgery. By holding on to Oden, Portland retains his Bird Rights.

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