Jason Quick of The Oregonian traveled to Minneapolis in advance of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy's expected return to Portland's Rose Garden on Friday. Instead, the former Trail Blazers guard has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery that will sideline him for a month. He's played just five games so far this season. The early returns were not good.
Here are a few excerpts from Quick's piece, which prods at Roy's thinking last season, when he entered an unofficial retirement after the Blazers released him using the amnesty clause.
And with the calm that made him one of the game's best finishers, he explains that his knees have reached Level III arthritis. There are only four stages. "Level IV," Roy says fearlessly, "is when you get a knee replacement."
"I don't want to speak for Portland, but medically retiring and them using the amnesty, I think it worked for both sides," Roy said. "During that whole process, my whole thing was I wanted to make it OK for Portland. I didn't want it to be one-sided ... I felt like Paul (Allen) had done so much for me, and I know how much people in that organization care about the Blazers, so I never wanted to handicap them. So it was the best way we could make this split, while at the same time I could be comfortable and keep my earnings and the Blazers could be freed. I don't know how we could have had a better ending."
"I really didn't want to be around people, not in an upset way. And I wasn't embarrassed. But I didn't know who I was anymore," Roy said. "It's like I lost my identity. It's like I went through my whole life as underdog, underdog, then -- Bam! -- I'm a big star. And now it's like -- I don't want to say I was a nobody, but I wasn't a basketball player anymore. It's kind of like: Who is Brandon Roy type thing. And even to this day, I'm not fully sure I have recovered that, to where I know what my identity is. I think I'm still trying to regain it."
"I think a lot of people thought me not playing was all physical. I would say, no it probably has a greater mental side than it does physical," Roy said. "Of course I have to deal with my knees, and the ups and downs of having to sit out games here and there. But it was that part of being an average player ... Can I live with that? Can I go back and play and live with those results?"
Roy also said the 66-game lockout-shortened schedule weighed on his mind, because the condensed nature of the games was just too much for his knees to take.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter