Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy met with the Portland media in his first return to the Rose Garden this season. Wearing Washington Huskies colors, as always, Roy took questions from the largest media crowd since Media Day. He reflected on his five-year career with the Portland Trail Blazers and discussed his future as he continues to rehabilitate from a series of knee injuries and surgeries.
Roy said he expects to return to practice shortly and that he wants to return to the court for games this season. He tried hard to strike a positive tone.
"Everybody that's seen me says that I'm still smiling," he said. "That's what I want people to see. I don't want them to see a frustrated person, I want them to see a person who is still happy with how things are going."
Roy said he would evaluate his future after the season, refusing to make a decision until after the season.
"If I never play another game, I'll still be completely happy with my career," he said.
Here's a full transcript.
Excited. It's not quite like, I didn't have the same energy as if I was playing, but I still was excited, as we got closer to the arena. Happy to be back, pulling in here. I wish I was able to play this game but I'm still excited to be here and see the fans.
Decide to make the return
I was on the road trip. I've been working out and been getting closer to getting back to practice. Me and [David Kahn] thought it would be good for me to start traveling with the team and getting back in that flow. Just been on the trip, was happy to see the schedule and Portland was the last place we were going. It's a great trip to go back on.
What keeps you going?
I'm still young. If I was to just stop playing basketball, I don't know what I would go into right away. I just say, why not? I still love to show up in practice and work out, when the time comes to stop playing, I'll know when that time comes.
Play again this year?
I think so. That's my goal right now. I'm showing up every day, rehabbing, working out, trying to get back on the court.
Possibility that continuing to play will make your knees worse?
There's always that concern from the beginning of my career but I've talked to two different doctors so far this year, comparing all my MRIs from my last season in Portland, nothing's gotten worse. Until somebody says this is getting pretty bad, you should stop, who knows. I'll go as long as I can.
Do you wish you could play tonight?
I really wish I could have played tonight. It's difficult watching our team in any game, especially with watching the injuries that we've had. Tonight would have been really special for me to come back and play in this building.
You said last month you would try to play if you could?
I said that but it's still hard to play, not just here in Portland but in any game when you don't feel like you're as close to 100 percent as possible. I didn't feel as good to want to come out here and play in a game. Maybe I could have played tonight but I haven't been practicing enough or getting into basketball shape to go out and do it.
Where are you at in rehabilitation?
I'm doing good. I've been doing good for a few weeks now. Working without any setbacks. I'm getting closer to getting back out there on the court. I was talking to Kevin [Love] and Chase [Budinger] and those guys, once they're healthy, I'll be that much closer and we'll give ourselves a good look at what we could have been had we been healthy. Maybe it's just timing also.
Memories of Portland
I still have my house here. Going back home brings back a lot of memories of nights going home after some really special nights in the Rose Garden. 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.
Why not speak in previous return trips to Rose Garden?
I'm not really big on doing press conferences or talking to the media, I'm kind of private and I think as least I can say is better. That's why I lay back and not say much sometimes.
Be emotional when the crowd reacts to you?
I think so. I've been emotional just coming back here. Flying in the other day, I haven't flown into this city since our last road trip with the team. It's special being back here. I can't predict how I will feel but it wil be a special moment just walking out on the court.
How long until you return to practice? A week or two?
I'm closer to practicing than a week. Maybe it's a week or two before I start playing again.
How many more years left to play?
I'm not sure. My body has a lot to say about that. At the end of the year, I'll do some reflecting on how this season went and if I want to continue. I made the commitment at the beginning of the year that I'm going to stick with this season no matter what through the ups and downs and at the end of the year I'll reflect on things and do I still want to go forward. I'm not going to make that decision now, I know maybe people want me to. I made a commitment and I'm going to stick it out.
Impressions of Damian Lillard and comparisons to you?
He's a good player. Being in Minnesota I don't get to watch as many Portland games, but the games I've watched, he's a really tough player. I didn't know he could shoot the ball that good. He's a really good three-pointer shooter. He's just tough on the court and he makes big shots, timely shots. He's going to be a special player in this league.
Compare him to you demeanor-wise?
He's solid. I've never really been one to compare guys to myself but I see a lot of Chauncey Billups in him. Chauncey wasn't at that level so early but you could see a lot of similarities. He just comes down and makes timely baskets. Playing against guys like Chauncey, that's what they did. He's going to be a really good player in this league.
Have you practiced recently?
We haven't practiced on this trip, we've just done some walk-through stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to practice our next serious practice. I don't even know if we'll practice full speed for awhile because we have a lot of games. I'll see. I'm looking forward to getting back soon.
What do you need to accomplish before your career ends?
Nothing. I've jumped that hurdle, getting back to playing that first game of the season, was great for me. If I never play another game, I'll still be completely happy with my career. That didn't just come tonight, it took time to get to that point of peace. Now that I'm there, me just trying to play basketball, it's not for any other reason than me just wanting to continue. I'm happy with how things are going now.
When did you reach peace?
Sometime during training camp. My biggest thing was getting back to the league. When I was at training camp, sitting at the training table, talking about how I'm back in the mix of things with the team again. It just felt good, it just felt right. That's when I thought no matter what happens this year, I'll be positive about it. I think I've done that. Everybody that's seen me says that I'm still smiling. That's what I want people to see. I don't want them to see a frustrated person, I want them to see a person who is still happy with how things are going.
Your family is here?
My wife and kids are here. My wife is coming. My kids are going to stay out home. My best friend Ardell is here.
Your parents didn't come down?
No. They said if I was playing they would have come.
Stay at your house last night?
Any idea what can you get back to when you start playing?
No. I don't know. I'm not sure, I wouldn't even know how to answer that. As long as I can play and not in too much pain, I'll be happy with that.
Expectations for tonight?
Not sure. No expectations. I'm just really happy to be back here, whatever it is I'll be happy.
Between first and second year, what did you improve on?
I've got to go back. I thought my rookie year, I was just trying to feel my way through things. I wasn't really sure what to expect night in and night out. Towards the second half of the season I was. My second year, the biggest difference was confidence. I just had a lot more confidence and I was a lot better shooting the ball. My first year I wasn't shooting the ball as well as I was going from my first year to my second year. Some of that is just adjusting to the NBA three, the NBA style of play, pick and rolling.
In my second year I looked back on what worked well for me my first year, which was playing in pick and rolls, I thought my second year I was really good in playing in pick and rolls and that really helped take my game to the next level because a lot of two guards didn't know how to defend it.
How did you avoid being swayed by NBA lifestyle as a young player
My biggest thing was I was focused. I always put my family first. I loved being around my family, staying out of those positions is really the only way you can prevent them. I just stayed away from certain things. I just had the determination that I wanted to win. When you're giving 100 percent effort on the floor, for me I'm too tired to do anything else. It may sound simple but some of it was just being with my family a lot. I had my son my rookie year, my daughter my third year, so I was kind of busy. At the same time trying to balance helping this team win. I just felt too tired to do anything else.
What-ifs with you, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden?
I never really do it. But people will sit around and watch games and go, 'man, if you guys could have stayed healthy,' and they will mention Greg, me and LaMarcus, we had a lot of young talented pieces. Some people say you guys could have been this, you could have been that. I'm the type where unless you work and actually get that, it's just a what if. If you think too hard on the what ifs, it takes too much credit from the teams that are actually going out and doing it.
My thing is, we had a fun moment and maybe in one of my dreams I could dream about how good the team would have been, if we could just have been healthy. It's unfortunate, but time goes on and you've got to move forward.
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