It seems hard to believe that Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy reached his peak two years ago at the age of 24, but that may not be so farfetched now. Last year, Roy struggled with a right knee injury, returning far too soon on a torn meniscus in the playoffs. Now, according to a report by Jason Quick of the Oregonian, Roy is having issues with his left knee.
Roy is experiencing swelling and discomfort on his left knee. This is the knee that was operated on in August 2008, not the right knee that wasoperated on last April.
Roy is concerned about what is going on inside the knee, which he says has been drained of fluid twice this season. His concern is strong enough that he wants a second opinion.
That second opinion will come in the form of noted Los Angeles orthopedist Neal ElAttrache. Blazers GM Rich Cho was already flying two of his players -- center Greg Oden and guard Elliot Williams -- to see him. Oden was going for a second opinion on his own left knee, which has kept him out all season, and Williams was going for a pre-operation exam on his right knee. Now, ElAttrache will also take a look at Roy's left knee and determine what happens from here.
In the meantime, Roy will play and start, but his production and minutes have really tailed off. After the team's 100-78 win over the Pistons on Wednesday, Roy spoke with reporters and said he's okay. Via Blazers Edge:
I'm good. I'm playing. I'm just looking forward to getting those minutes down a little bit and continue to keep my legs for the entire season.
Roy was also asked about his knee on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, and had this to say. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
"We weren't taking it easy. It was a situation where my knee was a little sore after the Lakers game and Coach thought that we had a chance to keep me on the bench to get my minutes down a bit. He wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. It was actually something that we talked about before the game and we were able to build a big lead through the third quarter and he came to me and said I think I'm gonna sit you out the rest of this one. I was fine with it, we have back to backs coming up and three games on the road. We really need these games against Western Conference teams."
But clearly, there is something wrong. Roy just hasn't looked like himself, and it's a major red flag to find out the knee has already been drained twice. Blazers Edge ran down the list of possibilities regarding the injury here, considering the doomsday scenario right off the bat.
This is the possibility that scares people most. It's an open question too. Roy is slowed, if not outright limping. His vertical lift isn't smooth. He's either lost or isn't employing his ability to cut sharply. He's getting ice on his knee during game breaks.
Even if this is the case, however, not all is lost. Roy might not be capable of overt dominance like he showed in his first couple of seasons, but he's still a good player. Let's not forget that before the last two outings he was averaging 22 points per game on this same knee. He's not going to be able to drive, lift, and explode the way he once did but that has happened to many NBA scorers as they've aged. Once they figure out other ways to put the ball in the hoop and compensate for the change in defensive emphasis against them, many of those talented offensive players go on to successful, even high-scoring, careers. Besides, this team has always been built around the concept of Roy and the Blazers, not Roy and the Royettes. The team functions best as a team. LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum both have room to grow offensively, even without considering Greg Oden. If Roy has to play fewer minutes, that's exactly what Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez are on the roster for. Both of them would benefit from playing time, touches, and confidence.
That's a rosy and rational way of looking at the injury. But if the Blazers are to advance deep into the playoffs, they will need Roy to return to his 2008/09 form.