Roy Has Special Night In Portland, Now Hopes To Turn Corner In Recovery
Brandon Roy got a chance to make his return to Portland last night, and though it wasn’t quite the way he envisioned it when he decided to return to the NBA this season it certainly was a memorable and meaningful moment in his career.
Flash back to July, and things were different. Roy had been working out on the basketball court with different NBA personnel—including Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno—for more than three months. He was focused on helping the Wolves, however big or small his role would be, take that next step in their road to reach the postseason and complement the cornerstone pieces already in place.
There were unknowns. But from that day through his individual workouts in September, his strong training camp and a preseason in which he dove for loose balls, drove to the basket and facilitated at a high rate, Roy earned a spot in the starting lineup and looked like he could play that role on the wing.
Then came early November, discomfort in Roy’s right knee and arthroscopic surgery. He’s played in just five games this year, missed the Wolves’ first trip to Portland and was unable to play in this second and final trip to the Rose Garden in 2012-13.
But last night was clearly special. Roy was greeted by a pack of media members in the Pacific Northwest and was able to chat with that group for the first time since he came to Minnesota. He received a nice ovation from the Blazers fans who recall the big shots he made and the way in which he rehabbed the team’s image.
There will always be love for Roy in that city, and he was excited to make his return. Even if it wasn’t in uniform.
“Going back home brings back a lot of memories of nights going home after some really special nights in the Rose Garden,” Roy said, according to a full transcript at BlazersEdge.com. “I had so many memories from my very first season here all the way up until my last that I forget things that people remind me about. 'Oh yeah, that was a big moment.' That's what you want when you come into this league, to create memories and I have a lot of special ones, especially in this building.”
Roy talked about a myriad of things during his media availability on Saturday, including his hopes to return to the floor this season, the possibility of beginning to practice with the team soon, what he meant to the Blazers and the correlation between his own career with Blazers rookie sensation Damian Lillard.
When it comes to his own path back to the court, Roy said he thinks he will be practicing within a week or so and could be playing in the next two weeks.
At this point, it’s a wait and see game. With all the injuries that have happened this season, getting Roy back at any point would be helpful if only for the fact that he would add some extra minutes and a sharp-shooting veteran to the perimeter. But it’s not that easy in this situation, because it’s been such a long road back for Roy since that surgery in November.
What we should take away from this weekend was that on a personal level, Roy got his chance to return to Portland and tie up some of those memories that ended so quickly with his retirement in 2011. Roy is one of the good guys in this league, an endearing player who is as genuine as a person as he was an elite scorer on the court. It’s difficult to see him struggle to return in his comeback attempt, but if that day is indeed coming soon it was important for Roy to wrap up the Portland part of his career.
Now the focus switches to his future. When Roy arrived in late-July, he talked about being able to help the Wolves open up space on the floor for Rubio and Love with his ability to hit shots from the outside. Creating offense to help supplement Love and Rubio was exactly what this team needed.
And with 6 1/2 weeks left in the regular season, recreating that blueprint is essential. If Love and Chase Budinger return in the next few weeks, and Roy is able to give Minnesota some minutes, we just might be able to see a version of the Wolves squad we hoped to see in July.
That would be a refreshing way to close out this 2012-13 campaign. Like Roy was able to revisit his days in Portland this weekend, the Wolves and their fans hope to recreate those summer plans in the end of March and early April.
Time will tell.