The Portland Trail Blazers have announced that center Marcus Camby underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery today and put his recovery timeline at "approximately three weeks."
PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Trail Blazers center Marcus Camby underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a partial medial meniscus tear in his left knee this morning, it was announced by General Manager Rich Cho.
Dr. Don Roberts performed the surgery in Vancouver, Wash., and Camby is expected to miss approximately three weeks.
"We're pleased with the outcome of today's surgery, and look forward to seeing Marcus back on the court soon," said Cho. "In the meantime, we have confidence in our frontcourt players to step into the void left by Marcus and help us continue to win games."
In 39 games (all starts) this season, Camby has averaged 5.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.87 blocks in 28.7 minutes. He ranks fifth in the NBA in rebounds and 10th in blocked shots per game.
Camby is the only player in the Western Conference averaging at least 11.0 rebounds and 1.50 blocks. He has grabbed at least 10 boards in 26 games and led the team in rebounding a team-high 28 times this season.
All things considered, this is excellent news. Should Camby hit the three week mark, his return will come before both the All-Star break and the trade deadline. Three weeks from today is February 10; The Blazers play nine games between now and Feb. 10.
For more on what Camby's absence will mean, click here.
Also, I missed the reactions from a few trusted voices in yesterday's Camby roundup. Here they are.
Kevin Pelton crunched the numbers over at Basketball Prospectus...
The big issue is that Aldridge and Przybilla have yet to click this season, struggling to score. That combination is likely to improve both because Przybilla is getting healthier and because it will mostly be playing with the Blazers' starting five. The small frontcourt has been reasonably effective (more so than Cunningham and Camby), but Portland has struggled badly whenever Marks has been on the floor. Even 14 minutes a game for the Kiwi big man figures to be problematic for the Blazers. Nate McMillan could reduce that number by playing more smallball in favorable matchups.
If we assume that Portland can play even with Aldridge and Przybilla together in the frontcourt, our estimated point differential for the team in Camby's absence becomes -2.2 points per game, which seems reasonable. A favorable scenario would have Camby returning after the All-Star break and missing 14 games. Over that span, a team with a -2.2 differential could expect to go 6-8, which is only a game difference from the 7-7 we'd expect from a team that has been right around .500 this season.
Zach Lowe also weighed in nicely on SI.com...
Take the Aldridge-Cunningham frontcourt, which would seem, perhaps, a bit undersized in comparison to the Camby-Aldridge duo. Cunningham has not proved to be much of a scoring threat, shooting just 42 percent this season and doing most of his work on mid-range looks from others.
But if you take the 10 most commonly used five-man groups involving the Cunningham-Aldridge pairing (via Basketball Value), you get some pretty solid results. The 10 five-man groups range from Portland's fourth most-used lineup (nearly 75 minutes of court time total) down to a lineup that has shared the court for a dozen minutes. Here are the totals for the 10 groups combined over about 378 minutes:
For Portland's offense: 763 points on 702 offensive possessions, or: 108.7 points per 100 possessions. That's an elite number - better than Portland's overall average.
For Portland's defense: 727 points allowed on 705 defensive possessions, or: 103.1 points allowed per 100 possessions. Again - that's a very good mark, significantly better than Portland's season average, according to Basketball Value.
Sean Highkin of Rip City Project writes...
So where does that leave us now? It doesn't look good, but I don't necessarily think the Blazers' playoff hopes are dashed entirely. This team has been here before. Remember, the two months last season between Joel Przybilla's ruptured patellar tendon and the trade for Camby at the deadline saw the Blazers running out a lineup that featured Juwan Howard starting at center. They'll find a fix for the center minutes, likely involving some combination of Dante Cunningham, Przybilla, and Sean Marks. Which, granted, won't come close to matching Camby's production, but these are guys who know the system and should be able to at least plug the gap competently without completely embarrassing themselves. The Blazers' main point of concern right now is their bench. Already pretty thin before the Camby injury happened, the team now loses one second-unit option-likely Cunningham-to a less-productive-than-normal starting lineup. Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills are literally their only semi-reasonable scoring options off the bench. What will either have to happen is those two will have to play out of their minds to compensate for the depleted bench, or the starting unit will have to play even more minutes than normal, which obviously isn't ideal given the risk of injury or, at the very least, fatigue that could cost the team a few wins.
In the short term, the Blazers' playoff chances don't look too great.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter