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Meyers Leonard On NBA Playoffs, Free Agency, and Recovery

The Trail Blazers big man discusses his recovery and intentions after season ending shoulder surgery.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Early Tuesday morning, Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune published a piece outlining Meyers Leonard's recovery status. In it, he covers Leonard's physical recovery concerning the shoulder surgery he had less than three weeks ago, but also his emotional standing after being shut down for the season as his teammates prepared their push into the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

The Trail Blazers' ride to the NBA playoffs has been bittersweet for Meyers Leonard.

He is glad for his team's surprisingly successful run through the season, but he is greatly disappointed to be on the sidelines watching the action when it counts most.

"I have to be honest — it's really, really tough," says the Blazers' power forward, who underwent surgery for a dislocated left shoulder on April 8. "I wouldn't use words like ‘jealous' or ‘envious,' but I'd give anything to be out there."

Eggers continues by going back to the 2015 NBA Playoffs and highlights what has become the moment that some point to as Leonard's on-court breakthrough.

"In some ways, I made a name for myself late in the season and in the playoffs," Leonard says. "People saw I could be a factor. Sitting there at the Moda Center (Saturday night), hearing the crowd and seeing the emotion of the players, brought back those memories from last year.

Leonard notes that he's at or ahead of schedule in his therapy, and hopes to be ready for the beginning of the regular season. Of particular note to Trail Blazers fans is this quote from Leonard concerning his upcoming free agency.

"I hope I can be back here, I really do," he says. "I love the city and the organization. I've been here with (coach) Terry Stotts for four years. I've been here with (Damian Lillard) for four years. It's just a good feel. Free agency can get crazy, but my hope is to be back in Portland.

This marks at least the second time that Leonard has said as much, on the record, about his desire to stay in Portland. With the recent history surrounding Portland bigs and their desire to stay with the franchise long term, it's easy to see why Blazer fans may be a little hesitant, and perhaps this is Leonard's way of saying that he truly does want to stay here.

In his closing comments Leonard certainly sounds like someone who thinks he's going to end up back in Portland when free agency closes.

"But there is a silver lining to it. I'm going to come back better in the weight room. My teammates and coaches have a lot of confidence in me and what I can do. "Every year I've been here, I've made big jumps, and I will continue to do that."

To read Eggers' piece in its entirety, click here.