Preseason Blazers Notes

Notebook time. Putting this stuff out or it will go to waste.

LaMarcus Aldridge Heart "Procedure" Details

Here are a few leftover details from Friday, when Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge met with the Portland media on the Rose Garden floor to discuss his health. Aldridge has been held out of contact portions of training camp due to the fact that he underwent what he calls a heart "procedure" on Dec. 9. Aldridge was careful to repeatedly use the word "procedure" and not "surgery."

Aldridge explained that the procedure isn't particulary comfortable.

"They go in through your groin so you can't really sit down [afterwards]," Aldridge winced, confirming that at least he was knocked out by an anesthetic during the procedure itself.

Portland's new franchise player said the procedure was the third time he has undergone the same treatment for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The first caused him to miss the final portions of his 2006-2007 rookie year and the second occurred during the summer prior to his second year in Portland.

Aldridge told me that training aggressively and playing in charity games during the lockout did not pose an immediate threat to his health.

"I was never at risk," Aldridge said. "The procedure was just to make sure that if this rhythm came back I wouldn’t be at risk. With the procedure done, that’s when they found out that I’m fine. I’ve never been at risk."

He went on to say, with no false bravado, that he wasn't particularly concerned about his health this time around.

"I wasn't worried about it," Aldridge said. "I love basketball, I know how I feel. I was never really worried about it. [The procedure] was just for the doctors and being cautious. Just to cover every base."

Remember, Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan referred to the incident as a "scare" when he first found out and both Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green and Sacramento Kings center Chuck Hayes failed physicals this week due to heart-related ailments.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan told the media that he almost fainted when he heard the news that guard Brandon Roy was planning to medically retire, center Greg Oden's season was in question and Aldridge was going to require a heart procedure during a press conference on Friday.

"That six hours last Thursday, I heard that Brandon is retiring and that Greg Oden has a setback and LaMarcus won't be in practice," McMillan said. "I almost fell out."

Aldridge said his coach simply had a lot to deal with in a short period of time.

"That's probably why he almost fainted," Aldridge said with a smile. "It was a really big Friday and I just topped it off with even more crazy news."

McMillan told reporters on Monday that he's "hopeful" for Aldridge to be available for Wednesday's preseason game but that the incision from the procedure is still healing.

LaMarcus Aldridge on Brandon Roy

Here's Aldridge's reaction to Portland's decision to use the amnesty clause to waive Roy after Roy decided to call it quits because of chronic knee injuries.

"It's still kind of surreal to me. I don't really believe it. We came here together and he's been there with me every step of the way. He's gone. We went through ups and downs together. It was definitely a big hit to me. I called him and talked to him. I think he did what was best for his health and his family and I wish him well. It's still weird to not have him around, not see him in his locker."

The Blazers made moves to add both Aldridge and Roy during the 2006 NBA Draft.

Jamal Crawford on Brandon Roy

I asked Blazers guard Jamal Crawford about Roy following Friday night's Fan Fest.

Crawford said that he played pick-up ball with his close friend seemingly "every day" during the lockout, especially over the last month, as both players prepared for the 2011-2012 regular season.

"He looked great," Crawford said. "If you didn't know anything about what had happened, the knees and all that, if you just walked in the gym, you would be like, ‘I see why he is as good as he is.' Mid-range, threes, catch-and-shoot was off the charts, moves to the hole."

I asked Crawford if perhaps Roy was jawing during their games.

"He wasn't talking," Crawford said. "He was just looking this time. Like, ‘Yeah I'm back.'"

Crawford cocked his head in imitation and flashed a smile.

Blazers Preseason Starting Lineup

See this post at the bottom.

Nate McMillan, Wesley Matthews On Jazz Coach Ty Corbin

For the first time since the 1988-1989 season, the Utah Jazz enter an NBA season with a coach not named Jerry Sloan. Sloan's replacement: former assistant coach and 16-year veteran player Tyrone Corbin.

McMillan admitted that he doesn't have much of a book on Corbin the coach because of the compressed preseason, the lack of tape on the current Jazz group and Corbin's short stint as head coach last season.

"For the most part, he's ran coach Sloan's stuff, so we'll see," McMillan said. "They haven't had a game. We're going off of some of the things they did last year at the end of the season. Tonight you're kind of going in, you're not giving them a lot, you want to see them play. We've talked about some of the things they've done in the past but it's not really about them, it's about us and trying to execute the things we've worked on."

McMillan remembers Corbin the player well.

"He was a scrapper," McMillan said, using his favorite English word. "He was a guy was hard-nosed on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, kind of a role player. Very intense, very aggressive. Smart player. But more of a glue guy."

There was no time for wistful recollections for Sloan this year.

"He's out," McMillan said bluntly when asked whether Sloan's abrupt retirement had fully sunk in. "That's Corbin's team now."

Blazers guard Wesley Matthews played for Sloan and Corbin during his rookie year with the Jazz.

"I think [Corbin is] going to have a good year," Matthews said. "Hopefully not against us. I wish him a lot of luck. He's a good guy, a good coach. He works hard. He can really relate to players having been one before."

A reporter asked Matthews who he was still close to on the Jazz roster, which underwent a major shakeup when All-Star guard Deron Williams was traded last season.

Matthews paused.

"I'm trying to think who's still over there," he said, before eventually naming former teammates C.J. Miles and Paul Millsap.

Radio Hits

I joined OPB Radio's Think Out Loud program with Dave Miller on Monday morning to discuss the start of the Blazers' preseason. Stream and/or download the podcast here.

Here's this week's radio hit with Chad Doing of 750 AM The Game. Also taped Monday morning. Segment begins at the top.

Gavin Dawson

Speaking of local sports radio, former longtime Portland sports radio talk show host Gavin Dawson is now blogging about the NBA in his new home of Dallas, TX. Here's a link. Check him out.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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