After playing just 21 minutes during the Portland Trail Blazers' blowout win over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, Brandon Roy was barraged with questions about his health and stated desire to play less minutes.
With reserve guard Rudy Fernandez back healthy, the substitutions came more quickly for Roy to start the first and third quarters, but his minutes were limited tonight mainly due to Portland's large second-half lead and Fernandez's capable play in maintaining said lead.
Regardless, Roy took more than six straight minutes of questions about his health after the game.
I've transcribed the entire thing below the jump, not because we learned much of significance, but so you can get a better sense for what a player of Roy's star power subjects himself to when he makes the kind of statements he's made over the past few days. Roy took the barrage of questions with an easy-going smile and he was convincing when he said he tunes out any criticism sent his ways by media and/or fans.
Imagining myself in his position, I'm not sure I would have the same patience and even-keel given the circumstances.
If you want the nuts and bolts of Roy's post-game comments, here are his key statements:
- He claims he is healthy enough to play and that there is no specific injury concern or carryover effect from his surgery last spring that is guiding his desire to play less minutes.
- He wasn't comfortable with his minutes load to start the season and wants to build more gradually over the course of the season, so he's ready for the playoffs.
- He discussed these feelings with coach Nate McMillan and the two hope to average out Roy's playing time to roughly 35 minutes per game.
- He doesn't think fans should be worried about his health.
- He understands his statements are a big story for the media and fans but he isolates himself from the discussion as much as possible.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
Here's the full transcript. Questions are paraphrased and bolded. Roy's answers are in blockquotes.
I saw ice on your knee during the game.
No, it was just heat. It was a hot pack, just to keep warm while I was on the bench.
Was your limited playing time going towards your goal of playing less minutes?
Coach just said he was going to try to keep them down. I didn't think it would be 20 minutes. We had leads, he was just trying to do his best to keep those down.
Is it tough to come in and out when the minutes go down that much?
No, no, no, I was fine with it. Like I said, it was something that me and coach both agreed to, I was absolutely fine with it.
So playing less minutes was a welcome thing tonight?
It was good for the day. We didn't know it was going to work out this perfect, but it's something that we're both going to continue to work to get. I'm sure it won't be 20 minutes, but tonight we had a chance and we got a lead. The biggest thing is, we have good players. Rudy is a really good player. Wesley is really good. We just need everybody to step up. It's a long season, I think we can kind of save some bodies if we can continue to play like we did tonight.
Where are you health-wise?
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.
Percentage-wise how are you?
There's no percentage-wise. I'm good. Good enough to go out there and play.
How do you weigh the long-term versus the short-term with regard to your minutes and health?
The biggest thing is we just played a lot of games in a small amount of time and I played a lot of minutes in those games. We've got a break coming up here. The biggest thing is we want to play. We're going to play to win. If there's chances that I can get that rest, then I'll do so.
You've been carrying this team for so long. Is that a change in mindset for you going into a different role for awhile?
Maybe. We've got good players. I told L.A., you've got to keep stepping up. We need you to play big. Just talking with Rudy, you know you've got the minutes, we need you to play big. Wesley, we need all of you guys to continue to step up. I think it's going to make us a better team. I feel like as the season goes on and guys get their minutes and know they're going to get their minutes it's only going to help this team.
You're so honest all the time. If a question gets asked, you answer it. Does the response to your statements about your minutes surprise you?
No, I'm fine. I'm going to continue to do my best always to help this team. I don't really hear it that much, only when I come around and people ask me about it. When I'm at home, I'm pretty focused on resting and getting ready for the game. People tell me you guys might talk a lot, but I don't actually hear it myself so it's fine.
Should fans have reason to be concerned about your health this season?
No, I don't think so. We're going to continue to play. This isn't the first time me and coach have talked about cutting my minutes down. 40 minutes is a lot of time that I'm out there on the floor. I think he even gets concerned about it. We just always sit down and work it out and things go on and be a lot better.
Have you talked to Nate about 35 minutes per game?
Me and coach talked about a number of different situations. There's going to be times where I may play 40 but hopefully I can play a game where it's only 20. At the end we just hope that it averages out.
Something in particular that's bothering you or overall wear and tear?
Nah. Team and myself just worrying about overall wear and tear and try to make sure we maintain a good amount of minutes.
Does returning quickly from the surgery last year play any role?
Nah. Nah. It has nothing to do with that.
How do you reach your preseason goal of being a more dominant player if you're playing fewer minutes?
It's definitely possible for the fact that I can build instead of starting off a season averaging so many minutes. That's why I said over 3 or 4 months, that's something we're trying to build for, I want to be a better Brandon Roy in February instead of just hanging on and trying to scrap for a playoff spot. I want to be feeling like I'm getting stronger at that point.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter